What happens when a cat's teeth start to break down, and its body absorbs the structures that hold the tooth in place? Our Mount Vernon 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 might form in a cat's tooth, which may look like a cavity. However, cavities are caused by bacteria, while tooth resorption is a natural process in 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 a common dental in cats and is painful for them. 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 have two kinds of tooth problems, and vets use X-rays to figure out which one a cat has. 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 detecting it immediately.
Here are the two types of tooth problems 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 think your cat might have tooth problems, it's important to see the vet right away. 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. So don't wait, take your cat to the vet.
If the vet finds your cat has type 1 tooth problems, they'll probably have to remove the whole tooth. If your cat has type 2 tooth problems, the vet might need to remove the tooth's top part but leave 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.