Tooth Resorption in Cats

Key takeaway

Tooth resorption is a condition in which a cat’s body begins breaking down a tooth and its roots and absorbing them. Over time, tooth resorption can affect all parts of a tooth. While nobody is quite sure what causes tooth resorption, regular checkups can help prevent it. Treatment for tooth resorption in cats depends on the type of resorption and often involves surgical procedures.

Tooth resorption in cats is a condition that leads to the breakdown of the teeth and their roots, which can cause pain and muscle spasms. While there’s not exactly a known cause for tooth resorption, there are steps you can take to prevent tooth resorption in cats as a cat owner. If you notice your cat pacing or exhibiting other strange behavior that indicates they may be in pain, you should take them to the vet for an oral exam.

Taking care of your cat’s teeth and gums is important, and one of the best ways to do that is to bring them to a vet for routine exams. If your cat is experiencing tooth resorption, your vet can help you decide on a treatment option to reduce pain and treat tooth resorption. If you want to learn more about tooth resorption and resorption lesions in cats, here’s everything you need to know.

What is Tooth Resorption in Cats?

Tooth resorption is a medical condition where a cat’s tooth begins to break down and be absorbed by the body. This process usually starts in the enamel of the tooth, but it can eventually affect every part of the tooth. This can lead to pain and complications that require dental surgery to fix.

Regular dental exams are an important part of preventing tooth resorption in cats. You should take your cat in for a dental cleaning and exam at least once per year. Having your cat’s teeth cleaned regularly helps prevent long-term dental problems.

Signs of Tooth Resorption: Resorption Lesions

One of the first things you may notice if your cat has feline tooth resorption is their tooth getting smaller in size over time. Eventually, the tooth may appear to be almost entirely gone, or it may look like there’s a hole in the tooth.

Tooth resorption in cats can also lead to a variety of pain-related symptoms, including difficulty eating. If you notice your cat suddenly won’t touch their food, that could be a sign of a dental problem. You may also notice your cat showing signs of pain while eating or when something touches the affected tooth. Signs of oral pain in cats include teeth chattering when eating, dropping food, only chewing on one side, or pawing at the mouth while eating.

In some cases, your cat may exhibit certain behavioral changes as a result of tooth resorption. Maybe you’ve noticed your cat isn’t quite as cuddly and friendly, or maybe they’re lethargic or have stopped showing interest in their favorite toy. Subtle behavioral changes can be an indicator that your cat is in pain or dealing with discomfort.

If you notice your cat is in pain, it’s also important to watch out for cat bronchitis symptoms and signs of other medical conditions your cat may have. Even something as simple as worms in cats can cause a lot of pain, so it’s always a good idea to take your cat to the vet to figure out what’s going on.

How Serious is Feline Tooth Resorption?

While every case of feline tooth resorption is different, tooth resorption in cats can be a big problem if left untreated. While tooth resorption typically starts in one part of the tooth, it will eventually develop to a point where it affects the entire tooth.

Tooth resorption can also present issues because of the pain it causes. Pain can lead to behavioral changes and lethargy in cats, which can severely affect their quality of life. If you suspect your cat may be dealing with tooth resorption, the best thing you can do for them is take them to a vet right away. Your vet can perform a detailed examination to make sure your cat doesn’t have any serious dental problems. If your cat does have tooth resorption, your vet can help you choose the best surgical procedure or treatment option.

Causes of Feline Tooth Resorption

Unlike many other medical conditions in cats, feline tooth resorption is difficult because nobody knows exactly what causes it. In cases of feline tooth resorption, the dentin in the tooth is damaged, which leads to the eventual destruction of the tooth and its root. That being said, experts aren’t quite sure if there are any medical conditions or dietary or behavioral choices that may lead to tooth resorption.

One thing experts do know is that the most effective way to prevent tooth resorption and other dental problems is to take your cat to the vet for routine dental exams. The sooner you spot a problem such as tooth resorption, the less damage there will be to repair. At the very least, you should take your cat in for a dental exam about once per year.

It’s also important to make an effort to keep your cat’s teeth healthy in between dental exams. You can brush your cat’s teeth a few times a week and give them treats that are designed to promote dental health. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to preventing dental problems in cats.

Diagnosing Tooth Resorption in Cats

Before you can focus on treating tooth resorption in cats, you have to get a diagnosis. If your cat is behaving strangely while eating or showing signs of pain, you should take them to a vet to get a diagnosis. Here’s what your vet will do to diagnose tooth resorption.

In order to diagnose tooth resorption in cats, your vet will typically use dental X-rays as well as a simple examination. X-rays help diagnose tooth resorption and determine the type of tooth resorption, which are both important steps in finding the right treatment option.

In some cases, a simple visual inspection is enough to diagnose tooth resorption in cats. Occasionally, your vet will need to perform an endodontic examination, which uses changes in temperature to examine the tooth and diagnose tooth resorption.

Feline Tooth Resorption Treatments

Treatment for feline tooth resorption depends on the type of tooth resorption and the severity of the condition. Treating tooth resorption in cats generally involves some sort of surgical procedure.

If your cat has a type 1 tooth resorption, the crown and root need to be extracted to stop resorption pain and other symptoms. For type 2 resorption, the crown is amputated but the root is kept intact. Your vet will determine what type of resorption your cat has and what the best treatment option is through X-rays.

The best-case scenario is that treating tooth resorption in cats is as simple as removing the affected tooth. Extracting the bad tooth can reduce pain and stop the resorption process, which is the main goal of treating tooth resorption.

What Happens if You Don’t Treat Feline Tooth Resorption?

Diagnosing and treating feline tooth resorption early is important. Cats experiencing tooth resorption may live with a significant amount of pain, so treating tooth resorption can offer pain relief. That being said, it’s also important to look out for symptoms of other conditions, such as a cat swollen belly with worms.

If you don’t take your cat to the vet when they’re experiencing tooth resorption, resorption will eventually affect the entire tooth as well as the root of the tooth. Early diagnosis and treatment could reduce the severity of the surgical procedure that’s required. In any case, early treatment can save your cat from a lot of pain.

How Long Does Tooth Resorption Take in Cats?

From the time you first notice the symptoms of tooth resorption in cats, it could take years for the tooth to fully resorb. Because this process can take so long, getting your cat to the vet as early as possible is important. Early diagnosis and treatment of tooth resorption helps minimize dental damage and saves your cat from a lot of pain.

It’s important to note that every case of tooth resorption is different, and you may not spot the signs of tooth resorption until it’s further along. Still, you should take your cat to the vet the moment you notice they’ve got a serious dental problem.

Final Notes

As a cat owner, it’s important to recognize the signs of tooth resorption in cats so you can get your cat the treatment they need. Tooth resorption gets worse with time, so early diagnosis and treatment are key. Treatment options typically involve surgery, with long-term cases of tooth resorption requiring more involved surgery.

Whether you think your cat might be experiencing tooth resorption or you want to know more about where to pet a cat, it’s always a smart idea to talk to your vet. Thanks to Dutch, connecting with vets in your area is easy. If you’re looking for vets in your area who can treat tooth resorption, Dutch can help.