Here's a fun dentistry case I saw recently and wanted to share with you. This case really illustrates what you are not getting if your vet is doing "dentals" without taking x rays.
This puppy was "missing" the tooth just behind his canine during a neuter visit. I circled where the tooth should be.
We know here at Riverside that missing teeth aren't confirmed to be missing until we have a radiograph or x ray to confirm. In this case the tooth was there, it was just taking a snooze.
That tooth is never going to break through the gumline. The problem with that is that the sac the tooth lives in until eruption will continue to make fluid. This will lead to a dentigerous cyst. Here is some third party information about dentigerous cysts. Dentigerous cyst
We made a little incision in the gumline over where the tooth should be and there it was!
The tooth removed easily enough.
We removed the tooth and the fluid producing lining. Of course we always make sure we got everything by taking a post extraction x ray.
Everything looks good, so we closed this up with just a few absorbable sutures and sent the little pup home. Actually, we sent him home after repeating the exact same surgery on the opposite side. He had two napping teeth in his mouth. That's two chances to form a cyst that could have resulted in a very complicated jaw fracture.
The take away message is: if your pet has been diagnosed with missing teeth but you don't have x ray confirmation that they are actually missing, you should schedule a visit with a veterinarian who has x ray capabilities right away. Please don't let your pet end up here as a cautionary tale instead of an educational one.