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Tooth Resorption in Cats

Tooth resorption in cats occurs when the body breaks down and absorbs the structures supporting the tooth. In this article, our veterinarians in Portland discuss the symptoms of tooth resorption in cats and the available treatment options.

What is tooth resorption in cats? 

Tooth resorption is a condition in which the body begins breaking down and absorbing the structures that form the tooth. The process typically begins in the enamel along the gum line and progresses toward the center of the tooth, ultimately resulting in the tooth almost entirely being absorbed. A small bump on the gums is all that remains in your cat's mouth.

Sometimes, tooth resorption in cats leads to the appearance of a hole in the tooth. These holes are sometimes mistaken for cavities, but they are distinct from cavities because they are caused by the body’s processes rather than bacteria.

Cavities are rare in cats, so if you notice what appears to be a cavity in your cat’s tooth, it is a sign of tooth resorption, and it is time to contact your Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital for a consultation.

What Are The Causes Of Tooth Resorption?

There are many possible causes of tooth resorption. Tooth resorption in cats refers to a painful condition. It used to be called feline oral resorptive lesions, feline odontoclastic resorptive, cavities, caries, cervical neck lesions, external or internal root resorptions, and cervical line erosions. The most commonly affected teeth are the premolars of the lower jaws (specifically the third premolars). 

Are there different types of tooth resorption?

Cats can develop two types of tooth resorption, which are determined by how the tooth appears on the radiograph or X-ray taken by your vet for diagnosis.

A radiograph of a normal tooth should show the tooth root with a thin, dark outline surrounding it. This outline separates the root from the bone and represents the periodontal ligament, a normal anatomic element connecting the bone and the root.

The causes of both types of tooth resorption in cats are unknown. However, maintaining good oral hygiene practices and regularly scheduling professional oral examinations and cleanings offers your cat the best chance of preventing or detecting this condition.

Symptoms of Tooth Resorption in Cats

Tooth resorption in cats can be painful, although it can be challenging to detect as cats are adept at hiding their pain. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the common signs and symptoms of this condition, including:

  • Increased Salivation
  • Difficulty Eating
  • Oral Bleeding
  • Behavioral Changes

How Cats With Tooth Resorption Can Be Treated

If you suspect that your cat may have tooth resorption, contact your vet as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will conduct radiographs and a clinical screening while your cat is under anesthesia to confirm the diagnosis.

They may also perform a complete dental screening. If left untreated, tooth resorption can cause your cat great pain and infection. If the condition is left undiagnosed for long enough, the tooth's crown may break, resulting in tooth loss.

If your vet diagnoses your cat with type 1 tooth resorption, they will most likely need to extract the root and crown. If your cat has type 2 tooth resorption, your vet may need to conduct a crown amputation with intentional root retention.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you believe your cat is suffering from tooth resorption, contact our Portland vets today to schedule an appointment.

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Cedar Mill Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Portland companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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