Digital x-ray equipment enhances our recognition and understanding of dental disease in the horse as it does in human and pet animal dentistry. Radiography in horses comes with its own challenges due to the size and thickness of the bones in the horse’s head. Yet, it is still the most useful tool to identify periodontal and pulp diseases. With digital equipment we can evaluate the tooth immediately and determine if a tooth is alive or dead. We can then make a therapeutic plan. Catching dental disease early can often help us save teeth that might otherwise need to be extracted. X-rays also are beneficial during and after tooth extraction to help determine what procedure may work the best and to be sure we have removed the entire tooth.
We have a variety of rigid and flexible endoscopes to help us visualize dental and sinus disease. Endoscopy is a great aid when trying to determine the source of nasal discharge. An infected tooth may rupture and drain through the nose, sinus, gum or the side of the jaw. The equine sinus can be compared to rooms in a house in which some of the doors are partially closed. The flexible endoscope can help us look into those various rooms and chambers. Rigid endoscopy helps us get a magnified view of teeth and oral structures to aid in determining a diagnosis. To enhance visualization, we also use a rigid scope during dental procedures such as tooth extractions requiring precise surgical cuts of a tooth or when filling cavities with the high-speed drill.