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Tooth Resorption in Cats

Tooth Resorption in Cats

When a cat's body breaks down and absorbs the structures that support the tooth, we call this tooth resorption. Our Richmond vets discuss the symptoms of tooth resorption in cats and how it can be treated.

What is Tooth Resorption in Cats?

Tooth resorption occurs when the dentin (the hard tissue under the tooth's enamel) of a single tooth or multiple teeth rodes. Left untreated, this can cause irreparable damage.

Tooth resorption is a condition that cats can develop when the body starts to break down and absorb the structures of the tooth. Initially, it starts in the enamel and then advances to the center of the tooth. Eventually, the entire tooth disintegrates. This condition typically affects the third premolars in the lower jaw.

Sometimes, a hole may develop in the center of a cat's tooth, which can resemble a cavity. However, cavities are caused by bacteria, whereas tooth resorption is the result of a biological process within the body. Cavities are also uncommon in cats, so if you notice a hole in your cat's tooth that appears to be causing significant discomfort, tooth resorption may be the cause.

Tooth resorption is one of the most common oral health conditions diagnosed in cats and is a painful experience for your kitty. That's why it's imperative to bring your cat to the vet for routine dental exams and cleanings - so your vet can identify the condition as early as possible.

Different Types of Tooth Resorption in Cats

Cats can experience two types of tooth resorption, which is determined by the appearance of the tooth in a radiograph taken by a veterinarian to diagnose the condition. A normal tooth should show a dark, thin outline surrounding the root, indicating the presence of the periodontal ligament that connects the root to the bone.

The causes of each type of tooth resorption in cats are unknown. However, bringing your cat in for regularly scheduled professional oral examinations and cleanings and maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home will lower your cat's risk of developing this condition, or having it detected right away. 

Here are the two types of tooth resorption in cats:

Type 1 Tooth Resorption

If a cat has type 1 tooth resorption, it indicates that the tooth's crown is affected, but the root appears normal on the radiograph, and the periodontal ligament is easily identifiable.

Type 2 Tooth Resorption

This condition is known as replacement resorption, which causes the root to appear as if it is disintegrating. As a result, it becomes difficult to distinguish it from the bone on the radiograph.

Symptoms of Tooth Resorption in Cats

Although tooth resorption can cause severe pain for cats, it can be challenging to recognize as our feline friends are skilled at concealing their discomfort. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the following common signs and symptoms:

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

How Cats With Tooth Resorption Can Be Treated

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from tooth resorption, it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will conduct a thorough examination of your feline friend with the help of radiographs and clinical screening while your cat is under anesthesia. They may also perform a complete dental screening. If left untreated, tooth resorption can lead to a lot of pain and infection in your cat. It can even cause tooth loss if the crown of the tooth breaks. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention for your cat without any delay.

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.

Do you suspect your cat may be suffering from tooth resorption? Please contact our Richmond veterinarians to book an appointment for an exam.

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