Case of the Month
An 11 year old Husky presents to you with an oral cavity that looks like this. She has not had prior dental care and is otherwise healthy.
What would your recommendation be to this owner regarding dental care?
At 11 years old without prior dental care regardless of the gross appearance of her teeth, she needs to have an anesthetized oral exam and full mouth dental radiographs. This particular case highlights the importance of dental radiography, which should be incorporated with all dental cleaning procedures. By incorporating full mouth dental x-rays on all cases, the staff will become faster, the patient will have more complete care and the treatments will be based on facts. According to a 1998 study, radiographs of teeth without clinical lesions yielded clinically important findings in 27.8% of dogs and 41.&% of cats1. Below are the radiographs that correspond with the photos.
As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of alveolar bone loss due to periodontal disease. Dental disease is typically drastically underestimated through a visual awake examination. An annual anesthetized oral examination and full mouth dental radiographs are vital for our patients to confirm a healthy and comfortable oral cavity. This patient had 11 teeth extracted.
1.Verstraete FJ, Kass PH, Terpak CH. Diagnostic value of full-mouth radiography in dogs. Am J Vet Res 1998; 59:686–691.