The tooth you see is the “tip of the iceberg”.
The roots below the gumline tend to be longer than the crown that shows above, and some teeth have 2 or even 3 roots.
Dental x-rays let us see the unseen:
- How is the bone of the tooth socket – has it been eaten away by inflammation/infection?
- How is the enamel, the hard outer layer of the tooth? Is it being broken down, down where we can not see it? (This is especially a problem for cats).
- What does the inner pulp canal of the tooth look like? This is where the nerve and blood vessel of the tooth run; if this tissue is abnormal, the tooth may be dead or dying.
Full-mouth dental x-rays are recommended for all pets when they are under anaesthesia for a COHAT – a Complete Oral Health Assessment and Treatment. X-rays not only pick up on problems early, they give us a basis for comparison down the road.