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Tooth Resorption in Cats

Chances are, if your Veterinarian has recommended that your cat have one or more teeth removed, it is due to tooth resorption.

Resorption means the breakdown and absorption of a tissue, and when teeth are concerned, this is usually done by specific cells called odontoclasts (a type of osteoclast).  This is a normal process when it involves the baby teeth, as they must undergo resorption in order for the adult teeth to erupt (come through the gum) normally. 

Adult tooth roots are not supposed to undergo resorption as baby teeth do.  For reasons that are currently poorly understood, adult cats teeth often undergo resorption.  When this happens in the roots above the gum line it becomes contaminated with bacteria from the mouth. This becomes inflamed and very painful.   In all cases of tooth resorption in cats, the only rational treatment is extraction of the affected teeth as there is no way to repair the damage or halt the progression.  Cats that have one tooth affected by tooth resorption will often develop more in the future;  This is why we recommend regular dental checks at least 6-monthly after a dental procedure.  There is no way to prevent these lesions, only to monitor for them and remove the affected teeth once it happens, as they are very painful. 

 If you have noticed lesions on your cat’s teeth similar to the ones pictured, or you are worried about your cat’s teeth, please get in touch with us! Smelly breath, salivation, lethargy and cats going off their food are all a sign of a painful mouth.

Our Vets can give your treasured friend a check-up and discuss all that is involved regarding the dental procedure.

 

The lesions often look like this.  This is a lower premolar in a cat that has tooth resorption.  Note the appearance of “climbing gum” where the gum seems to be growing up the tooth.  These areas are very painful and sensitive to touch and the cat may sometimes “chatter” their teeth when eating due to the sensitivity.

 

This is an x-ray of the same tooth.  Note the large areas in the tooth that have been “eaten away”.

If you would like one of our vets to take a look at your cat's teeth, call us at the Mill Road Clinic on 094371101.

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