Tooth resorption occurs in cats when their body breaks down and absorbs the structures supporting a tooth. Our veterinarians at Pittsboro will now discuss the symptoms of this condition in cats and the available treatment options.
What is Tooth Resorption in Cats?
When the hard tissue under a tooth's enamel, called dentin, dissolves, tooth resorption occurs. If left untreated, this can cause irreversible damage. Tooth resorption in cats happens when the body starts to break down and absorb the structures that form the tooth.
The condition typically starts in the enamel and progresses to the center of the tooth. Eventually, the tooth will completely disintegrate. The third premolars in the lower jaw are the most commonly affected teeth.
Sometimes, a hole that looks like a cavity can form in the middle of a cat's tooth due to tooth resorption. However, cavities are rare in cats and are caused by bacteria, while tooth resorption is a biological process within the body.
Tooth resorption is a frequent oral health condition in cats and is painful for them. It's crucial to take your cat for regular dental check-ups and cleanings to identify the condition early.
Different Types of Tooth Resorption in Cats
As a cat owner, it's important to know that your feline friend can develop two types of tooth resorption. The type they have will depend on how their tooth appears on the X-ray taken by your vet to diagnose the condition.
Normally, the tooth root should appear as a dark, thin outline separating it from the radiograph's bone. This dark outline represents the periodontal ligament, which is a normal element that connects the bone to the root.
Unfortunately, it's unknown what causes each type of tooth resorption in cats. However, scheduling regular professional oral examinations and cleanings for your cat, as well as maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home, can help lower their risk of developing this condition or detect it early on.
Type 1 Tooth Resorption
When cats have type 1 tooth resorption, it means the tooth's crown is damaged, but on the radiograph, the root looks normal, and the periodontal ligament can be easily recognized.
Type 2 Tooth Resorption
Also referred to as replacement resorption, this is where the root looks like it is disintegrating, making it hard to differentiate from the bone on the radiograph.
Symptoms of Tooth Resorption in Cats
While tooth resorption can be very painful for cats, it can be hard to recognize because our feline companions are very good at masking their pain. This makes it very important to be able to recognize the common signs and symptoms listed below:
- 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, it is important to contact your veterinarian without delay. Your vet will conduct radiographs and a clinical screening while your cat is under anesthesia to diagnose the condition. Your vet may also perform a complete dental screening. If left untreated, cat tooth resorption can cause your pet a significant amount of pain and infection. In extreme cases, the tooth may break and result in tooth loss. Therefore, it is crucial to treat this condition promptly to avoid any further complications.
In case your cat is diagnosed with type 1 tooth resorption, the vet might have to remove the root and crown. On the other hand, if your cat has type 2 tooth resorption, the vet may opt for a crown amputation while intentionally retaining the root.
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.