Interesting Find on a Dog’s Dental X-rays

I recommend dental radiographs on every annual ATP (Assessment, Treatment, Prevention) I perform.  Regardless if the visible crown looks good, there could be problems lurking below the gumline.  Studies show that almost 3 in 10 dogs and 4 in 10 cats have problems under the gumline that can only be detected by dental radiographs.

Many times, I’ll find an additional tooth root.  While this may not be a problem, it is very important to know the underlying anatomy in case this tooth requires any treatment in the future.

Here is a tooth I radiographed recently that has an accessory root (central).  While the tooth does not show any pathology, I did note it in the pet’s dental record.  If I have to treat this tooth in the future, it is important to know this fact.

3 rooted mandibular 1st molar tooth

Below is an image from a Diplomate friend of mine (Jean Battig in Portland, OR) of a diseased mandibular 1st molar with an accessory root.  This tooth must be surgically removed vs having a root canal therapy.

3 rooted mandibular 1st molar with pathology

Take home message:  Many two rooted teeth may have an accessory roots.  Sometimes these teeth have problems, so knowing the root anatomy makes it much easier to extract.  Without x-rays, you will leave a diseased root in the mouth that can cause continued oral pain. 

Barden Greenfield, DVM, Dipl. AVDC             Your Pet Dentist of Memphis and Little Rock

Dr. Barden Greenfield is a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) and the founder of Your Pet Dentist of Memphis and Little Rock. He received his BS (Microbiology) at Louisiana State University and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) at Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He also serves on the AVDC Board of Directors and is currently President.

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