What is Feline Tooth Resorption?
Feline tooth resorption is a common health problem of cats, affecting more than half of all cats older than three years of age. Tooth resorption is a painful process by which the affected tooth breaks down, beginning as a defect in the outer surface (enamel), and later leading to breakdown of the dentin, pulp chamber (nerve), and eventually the entire tooth.
What are the Signs of Tooth Resorption?
Many cats affected by tooth resorption will continue to eat normal amounts of food and will have no noticeable clinical signs. Cats are known to hide signs of pain, and oftentimes owners are unaware that their cat is experiencing oral pain.
Cats will sometimes show pain when the affected tooth is touched, and may show increased salivation, bleeding from the mouth, or difficulty eating. Chronic pain can also lead to behavioral changes, including increased aggression, hiding, or changes is socialization.
When examining the mouth, affected teeth in early stages will have a rim of bright red tissue surrounding the tooth. In later stages, the tooth may appear partially gone due to resorption.
How is Feline Tooth Resorption Diagnosed and Treated?
Teeth affected by tooth resorption can be identified by physical examination, and confirmation is made with intraoral radiographs (x-rays). Treatment involves surgical extraction of the affected tooth or teeth, which eliminates the source of pain.