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Interpreting Dental Radiographs

Kendall Taney, DVM, DAVDC, FAVD, Center for Veterinary Dentistry & Oral Surgery, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Dentistry & Periodontology

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March 2022
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Peer Reviewed

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Dental radiography should be included in a complete oral examination, as only ≈40% of the tooth and periodontium can be evaluated without radiographs. Bone loss from periodontal disease, periapical or endodontic pathology, tooth vitality, impacted teeth or retained roots, and other conditions (eg, neoplasia, tooth resorption) can also be assessed.1-3 

Routine full-mouth dental radiography can take minimal time when the appropriate technique is used and can be key in developing treatment plans.

Imaging Techniques

Dogs and cats have a flat hard palate; therefore, the bisecting angle and parallel techniques should be used to obtain radiographs that represent the true size of a tooth. Descriptions of these and other imaging techniques (eg, extraoral and oblique views) are available.4-7 Hands-on practice can lead to consistent results.

References

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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