How Dental X-Rays Help Your Cat

When your cat gets his or her dental cleaning, the cat dentist may want to take X-rays. These X-rays can reveal serious hidden problems with your cat's teeth. Dental cleanings are the best time to take X-rays since your cat is already anesthetized and having his or her teeth examined. Here is more information about dental anesthesia and X-rays, why they are done, and what they can reveal.

Why Would a Cat Need Dental X-Rays?

Many dental problems are difficult to see or diagnose without an X-ray. Your cat could have problems under their gums or inside the tooth without any indication of a problem. With a dental X-ray, your cat's dentist is fully informed about the condition of your cat's teeth and oral health. Dental X-rays are highly recommended for cats who clearly show visible problems like broken teeth.

How Are Dental X-Rays Taken?

Your cat's dental X-ray procedure isn't too different from your own. However, your cat will be under anesthesia when they take the radiographs. A technician positions and aims the machine to take pictures of the head and mouth area. Low levels of radiation are used and will not affect your cat's health.

What Can Dental X-Rays Reveal?

X-rays give your cat's dentist a clear picture of the teeth. Here are some problems dental X-rays may reveal before you are aware of them.

Serious Periodontal Disease

While the dentist can do a visual gum inspection, X-rays can reveal any bone loss related to serious periodontal disease.

Root Abscesses

X-rays can reveal an abscess in its early stages before it causes damage to other teeth and extreme pain. Likewise, X-rays can also locate other root problems like extra roots.


While the dentist can see some cracks with a visual examination, an X-ray will reveal how deep those cracks are. Deep cracks may indicate a need for further treatment.


Cats have a unique condition where a tooth will break down and the gums grow over the resulting lesion. This can cause a very painful sensation in your cat's mouth. X-rays can help find and treat these teeth and reduce the problems they cause.


X-rays help reveal any hidden tumors around your cat's mouth so the dentist can treat them before they get large enough to cause issues.

Dental X-rays are an extra tool to ensure your cat gets the most effective dental treatment possible. Without it, your cat's dentist may miss some problems, or only see them when they get really bad. This can potentially complicate and delay treatment for serious issues. Addressing problems sooner rather than later means easier treatment and less discomfort down the road. If you want to know more about dental cleanings or X-rays, contact a cat dentist.