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Tooth Resorption in Cats

Tooth resorption is a common dental issue in cats, characterized by the progressive destruction of a tooth's structure. This condition can be painful and often goes unnoticed until it becomes severe. Understanding the types, causes, symptoms, and treatments is crucial for your cat’s health.

What is Tooth Resorption in Cats?

Tooth resorption in cats occurs when the body starts breaking down and absorbing the structure of a tooth, often starting at the root and progressing upward. This leads to the weakening and eventual loss of the affected tooth. This condition is painful and can impact your cat’s ability to eat and enjoy daily activities.

Different Types of Tooth Resorption in Cats

Cats can develop two types of tooth resorption. The kind that occurs in your cat will depend on how the tooth appears on the radiograph (X-ray) taken by your vet to diagnose this condition. When a veterinarian takes a radiograph of a normal tooth, the tooth root should appear as a dark, thin outline surrounding it, which separates it from the bone. This dark outline represents the periodontal ligament, a normal anatomic element connecting the bone to the root.

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 immediately developing or detecting this condition.

Here are the two types of tooth resorption in cats:

Type 1 Tooth Resorption

This type involves inflammation and lesions at the gum line, with the root generally remaining intact. It often resembles gingivitis.

Type 2 Tooth Resorption

 This type involves replacing tooth structure with bone-like tissue. The root of the tooth is usually affected, leading to severe damage.

Causes of Tooth Resorption

The exact cause of tooth resorption in cats remains unclear. However, factors that may contribute include:

  • Genetics: Some cats may be predisposed to this condition.
  • Diet: Poor nutrition can exacerbate dental issues.
  • Inflammation: Chronic inflammation from gum disease may lead to tooth resorption.
  • Mechanical Stress: Chewing on hard objects may contribute to the condition.

Symptoms of Tooth Resorption in Cats

While tooth resorption can be painful for cats, it can be hard to recognize because our feline companions are very good at masking their pain. This makes it very important to be able to recognize the common signs and symptoms listed below:

  • Increased Salivation
  • Difficulty Eating
  • Oral Bleeding
  • Behavioral Changes
  • Tooth is rotten (becoming black)

What happens if tooth resorption is left untreated?

If left untreated, tooth resorption can lead to severe pain, infections, and further oral health complications. The affected teeth can become highly sensitive, making it difficult for your cat to eat. Additionally, the risk of infections increases, which can spread to other body areas and potentially cause more significant health issues.

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 get in touch with our Babcock Ranch veterinarians to book an appointment for an exam.

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