My Cat has a dental cavity (resorptive lesion)?  What now?

By March 25, 2019 Uncategorized

Many cats are prone to dental resorption lesions that may look similar to human cavities.  Unlike humans who develop cavities due to bacteria and acid eating away the enamel, the cause of these resorptive lesions in cats are unknown.  Many cats do not show any clinical signs with early resorptive lesions.  They do progress however, some at a faster rate than others.  As these lesions progress you may note salivation, mouth pain, gingival redness, tooth fractures, deformities or even missing teeth.  Some cats will ‘chatter’ when eating or the area of the lesion is even gently touched.  Monitoring early superficial lesions is acceptable as long as pain is not present with a thorough oral exam, dental cleaning, and radiographs to visualize the depth and extent of the lesion and the root.  Fluoride and restoration/fillings, like what is commonly used in humans, have been unsuccessful in preventing progression of these lesions.  The treatment of choice is extraction of the effected tooth.  Based on the radiographic appearance of the roots (sometimes they will also resorb or become part of the jaw) an extraction is planned.  If the roots are also resorbing, a crown amputation may be the preferred treatment.  This is when only the visible portion of the tooth is removed allowing preservation of the jaw structure.  If only the crown of the tooth is involved and the roots appear intact, a full extraction is recommended.  Your cat’s mouth will be much healthier and less painful in the long run with either a crown amputation or extraction when resorptive lesions are present.  Cats adapt very well to missing teeth and most continue to eat dry kibble with no problems.  Your cat’s mouth is healthier and much less painful when these resorptive lesions are managed appropriately with regular monitoring (physical exams), brushing of the teeth, professional cleanings, and extraction when necessary. 

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