By the age of three years old, most cats will have at least one tooth affected by tooth resorption. What is it and why is it so important?
Tooth resorption in cats (also called feline oral resorptive lesions) occurs when the cat’s own body starts to degrade and resorb the teeth forming holes in the enamel and dentin. Unfortunately, the exact reason as to why this occurs is still unknown.
These areas of resorption can occur either above or below the gum line. The tricky part is that when they develop below the gum line they are only visible on dental x-rays.
When the lesions reach the pulp, bacteria that is common in the mouth is able to contaminate the pulp and form abscesses at the root tip. This causes significant pain and swelling in the mouth.
Since resorptive lesions are progressive, they are classified into four different stages depending on their severity. In most cases, extraction is the best treatment as these are very painful lesions and they are progressive.
Dental x-rays should be performed at every dental procedure to evaluate the teeth below the gum line for any signs of tooth resorption or abscesses, both of which require extraction.
Please contact your veterinarian for an exam and treatment plan if you are concerned about tooth resorption in your feline friend.
Written by Fairmont Animal Hosptial