When a cat's body breaks down and absorbs the structures supporting the tooth, we refer to tooth resorption. Our vets in Los Angeles discuss the symptoms of tooth resorption in cats and explore treatment options.
What is Tooth Resorption in Cats?
Tooth resorption occurs when a single tooth or multiple teeth erode, as the hard dentin beneath the tooth's enamel breaks down. If left untreated, this erosion can lead to irreversible damage.
In cats, tooth resorption is a condition that arises as the body gradually breaks down and absorbs the tooth's structures. It typically begins with the enamel and progresses to the tooth's core, ultimately causing the entire tooth to rot. This condition typically affects the third premolars in the lower jaw.
Sometimes, a hole may develop in the center of a cat's tooth, resembling a cavity. However, cavities are caused by bacteria, whereas tooth resorption results from a biological process within the body. Cavities are 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 a common oral health issue in cats, causing them significant pain. Consequently, it's crucial to schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings with your veterinarian to detect this condition as early as possible.
Different Types of Tooth Resorption in Cats
Cats can experience two types of tooth resorption, which a veterinarian diagnoses based on the tooth's appearance in a radiograph. A normal tooth should exhibit a dark, thin outline surrounding the root, indicating the presence of the periodontal ligament connecting the root to the bone.
The causes of these types of tooth resorption in cats remain unknown. However, scheduling regular professional oral examinations and cleanings for your cat and practicing good oral hygiene at home will reduce the risk of your cat developing this condition or detecting it promptly.
Let's now explore 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 believe your cat might have tooth resorption, make sure to get in touch with your veterinarian promptly. The vet will thoroughly examine your feline friend using radiographs and clinical screening while your cat is under anesthesia.
They might also perform a complete dental screening. Neglecting tooth resorption can result in significant pain and infection for your cat, and it could even lead to tooth loss if the crown of the tooth breaks. So, it's essential to seek medical attention for your cat without 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.