Tooth Resorption in Cats

Do your cat's teeth look like they are missing or have black holes in them? You may think your cat has a cavity but that may not be the case. It could be tooth resorption. If that is the case then our White House vets will explain what is going on with your cat's teeth and what can be done to fix them.

About Tooth Resorption In Cats

Cat tooth resorption is a condition in which the body begins breaking down and absorbing the structures that form the tooth. The process generally begins in the enamel along the gum line and continues towards the center of the tooth. Eventually, the tooth will be almost entirely gone. All that will be left in your cat's mouth is a small bump on the gums.

Sometimes cat tooth resorption leads to the appearance of a hole in the tooth. These holes are sometimes mistaken for cavities, but they are different from cavities in that they are caused by the body’s processes rather than by bacteria.

Cavities are very rare in cats, so if you see what looks like a cavity in your cat’s tooth, it is a sign of cat tooth resorption, and time to contact your White House vets for a consultation.

What Are The Causes Of Tooth Resorption?

There are many possible causes for tooth resorption. Tooth resorption in cats is referring to a painful condition. Tooth resorption used to be called feline oral resorptive lesions, feline odontoclastic resorptive, cavities, caries, cervical neck lesions, external or internal root resorptions, and cervical line erosions. The most commonly affected teeth are the premolars of the lower jaws (specifically the third premolars). 

What Are The Symptoms?

Once the sensitive dentin is exposed, tooth resorption is painful and manifests as muscular spasms or trembling of the jaw whenever the lesion is touched.

If your cat has tooth resorption, its symptoms include:

  • increased salivation
  • oral bleeding
  • difficulty eating
In many cases, without radiographic and clinical screening in an anesthetized cat, tooth resorption will go unnoticed and your cat's pain will continue. Yearly examinations with our White House Animal Hospital vets are recommended for maintaining good oral health in your cat.

Treatment Options

Tooth resorption can be treated by our White House vets when detected. The vet can sedate your cat with anesthesia to get a more thorough look inside the mouth and perform a dental cleaning.

Dental x-rays should also be performed while your pet is sleeping to evaluate the extent of the damage below the gum line. Other oral conditions like gum disease, periodontal disease, and oral cancer will be evaluated.

Once your vet has a better idea of the severity of your cat’s case, your vet can discuss treatment options which can include:

  • Filling Minor Lesions- if the condition is caught early enough your vet can fill the minor lesions much like a dentist would fill a cavity.
  • Extracting the Affected Teeth- This is the most common treatment for tooth resorption. It generally is just the easiest way to fix the condition before it gets worse. After the tooth is removed, your cat should be back to normal within a week or two.
  • Feeding a Modified Diet- If your cat has had teeth removed due to this condition it is smart to modify their diet afterward. Your vets may recommend a wt food diet.

If you have concerns about your cat, please contact our White House vets today for a consultation.