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Tooth Resorption in Cats

Some cats have a condition called tooth resorption. This is when the body breaks down and absorbs the structures that support the tooth. In this article, our Rabun County vets talk about the types of tooth resorption in cats as well as treatment options.

Tooth Resorption in Cats

Tooth resorption is caused by the hard tissue beneath a tooth's enamel eroding. Cat tooth resorption, if left untreated, can cause irreparable damage to your pet's oral health.

Cats develop tooth resorption as their bodies start breaking down and absorbing the structures that form their tooth. This condition generally starts in the enamel and makes its way to the tooth's center. Sadly, most of the tooth will eventually be completely gone. The third premolars in the lower jaw are the teeth that are most often affected.

Occasionally, this condition can make a hole in the middle of a cat's tooth. Though this may look similar to a cavity, tooth resorption differs from cavities in that. Cavities are the result of bacteria, while resorption is caused by the body's biological process. Cavities are also fairly rare in cats, so if you see a hole in your cat's tooth that looks like a cavity, it is most likely tooth resorption.

Tooth resorption is one of the most common dental conditions seen in cats and is a painful experience for your kitty. That's why it is important to bring your feline friend to the vet for routine dental exams and cleanings so your vet can catch the condition as early as possible.

Different Types of Tooth Resorption in Cats

There are two types of tooth resorption that cats can develop — type one and type two. The type your cat has will be determined by the way the tooth appears on the X-ray. When a veterinarian takes an X-ray of a normal tooth, it should show the cat's rotten tooth with a thin dark outline surrounding it that separates the root from the bone. The dark outline represents the periodontal ligament, which is a normal anatomic element that connects the bone and the root.

The causes of both types of tooth resorption in cats are unknown. The best thing you can do to protect your cat is to brush their teeth regularly and schedule regular professional oral examinations and cleanings with your vet. Read below to learn more about the two types of tooth resorption in cats.

Type One Tooth Resorption

When cats have type one tooth resorption, it means the tooth's crown is damaged, but in the X-ray, the root looks normal and the periodontal ligament can be easily recognized.

Type Two Tooth Resorption

Also referred to as replacement resorption, type two resorption is a condition that will cause the root to appear as if it’s disintegrating, making it hard to differentiate from the bone on the radiograph.

Symptoms of Tooth Resorption in Cats

Tooth resorption can be very painful for cats and unfortunately, it can be hard to recognize as our feline companions are very good at masking their pain. This is why it is very important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of tooth resorption, including:

  • Increased salivation
  • Difficulty eating
  • Oral bleeding
  • Behavioral changes

How Cats With Tooth Resorption Can Be Treated

If you think your cat may have tooth resorption, you should call your vet as quickly as possible. If your veterinarian suspects your feline friend has this condition, they will conduct radiographs and perform a clinical screening while your cat is under anesthesia. Your vet may also perform a complete dental screening. Without these tests, your cat's tooth resorption will go undiagnosed and continue to get worse, causing your kitty a great deal of pain.

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.

Have you noticed symptoms of tooth resorption or other dental issues in your cat? Our Rabun County vets can diagnose and treat the problem. Contact us today to schedule a dental exam and cleaning.

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Rabun Animal Hospital is currently accepting new patients! Our wonderful veterinarians are dedicated to the health and happiness of Rabun County dogs, cats, and exotic pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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