Tooth resorption is one of the most common dental problems suffered by cats, second only to periodontal disease, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS). The AVDS estimates that 72% of cats age 5 or over have at least one oral resorptive lesion. Is your cat among them? Unfortunately, you may not be able to tell.
Resorptive lesions start below the gum line, at the root of the tooth, and progress up through the inside of the tooth. Without treatment, this painful process will cause swollen gums and holes in the surface of the tooth. In other words, your cat may suffer silently for a long time before you are able to see the problem.
Tooth resorption can cause so much pain that, under general anesthetic, the cat will react when the lesion is touched. Yet most cats don’t show obvious signs of pain at home….Pets are very good at hiding their pain.
Eventually the affected tooth will collapse in on itself and dissolve.
Detection and Treatment
American Veterinary Dental College recommend all cats have a professional dental examination and cleaning each year. Cats with a history of resorption lesions should be seen twice annually.
During the exam, your veterinarian will look at your cat’s mouth and teeth for red gums and unusual tissue growth. X-rays are almost always necessary to detect developing resorptive lesions and determine the extent of the damage.
Your cat will be sedated with general anesthetic during these procedures so that all surfaces of the teeth and gums can be examined and cleaned with the least amount of stress and discomfort to your pet. (See “Veterinarians Recommend Anesthesia for Dental Cleanings” for more about anesthesia.)
If your cat is diagnosed with tooth resorption, it is likely the recommendation would be to remove the tooth. The goals of treatment are to relieve your cat’s pain, prevent the disease from continuing, and restore function of the mouth.Before and After Photos
Although feline resorptive lesions are being studied, the cause is not known. One theory is that they are the result of periodontal disease. Many cats do have both conditions, although some have lesions only.
Your best bet is to combine annual veterinary exams with regular at-home care. We can show you how to brush your cat’s teeth. Be sure to use toothpaste made specifically for cats. Never use baking soda or human toothpaste. Cats don’t spit – at least not when you want them to – and ingesting human toothpaste or baking soda can cause stomach upset. Also, many types of human toothpaste contain Xylitol, a sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs and possibly other animals as well.
Dont forget our dental exams are only $15 and can be applied toward a future cleaning!