Dental X-Rays for Dogs

Dental X-Rays are an important part of every dog's routine health care. Today, our Edgewater vets discuss why dental X-rays are important, what they can reveal, and how often you should schedule them.

What are dental X-rays for dogs?

Dental X-rays in dogs are similar to human dental X-rays. They use small amounts of radiation to examine hidden teeth and areas below the gum line.

What can a dental X-ray show?

A dog's dental X-ray can have numerous benefits. With digital dental X-rays, your vet can possibly discover:

  • Extra root or an abscess that has extended to an adjacent/normal-looking tooth.
  • Unerupted or impacted teeth
  • Evaluation for root fractures or root ankylosis for teeth that must be extracted
  • Oral growths (cysts, infection, or tumors)

Why might my dog need a dental X-ray?

Here are four reasons why it is a good idea for your dog to get dental X-rays.


As you will see, many detrimental things can happen below the gumline. These are largely undetectable by the naked eye alone, so it is important to have dental X-rays as a precautionary measure.

When They Need Oral Surgery

Dental X-rays are essential before and after dental extraction. They ensure that the entire tooth structure has been extracted, preventing pain and infection from retained roots.

Missing Teeth & Tooth Roots

Missing teeth should be x-rayed to make sure they aren't hiding under the gumline. Teeth that haven't erupted can possibly lead to cysts. An unerupted tooth can also be detrimental to the jawbone.

Oral Infections

Tooth can become severely infected below the gumline, but can appear normal above the gumline. In fact, severely infected teeth below the gum line can cause jaw fractures. Your veterinarian wouldn't be able to identify this unless they take dental X-rays.

How are dental X-rays taken?

Dental X-rays in dogs require general anesthesia. But don't worry, it is a safe procedure performed after a general examination. Anesthesia is tailored to each dog and each dog is constantly monitored. Before administering an anesthetic, veterinarians may perform pre-anesthetic blood tests to ensure adequate kidney and liver function.

Does my dog really need anesthesia?

Yes, they do. Dogs have 42 teeth for X-rays, and anesthesia is required for an accurate picture of all of them. Anesthesia is considered safe and ensures that the X-ray sensor is correctly placed.

You also do not need to be concerned with excessive radiation either. To take dental X-rays, veterinarians use only a small amount of radiation. There have been no reports of dogs suffering from harmful radiation effects as a result of this level of exposure.

How often should my dog's teeth be x-rayed?

Under normal circumstances, dogs' mouth should be X-rayed at least once a year during their routine dental exam. Remember that one human year is equivalent to 5-7 dog years, and people have dental X-rays at least every other year.

However, dogs should get an oral examination under anesthesia whenever there are missing, discolored, or broken teeth, swollen and inflamed gums, oral growths, or bad breath.

Is it time for your dog's routine dental exam and x-rays? Contact our Edgewater vets to book your appointment today.