Feline Resorption Lesions
Dental, disease, bad breath, appetite, drop food, cavities, resorption, lesions, gum line, mouth, decay, pain, mouth, grooming, prevent, x-ray, extraction, teeth, brushing, exam, salivating
Feline Resorption Lesions
Dental disease affects our feline friends just as much as it does our canines, and it is a fact that 75% of cats over the age of 3 already have some degree of dental disease. Early signs of dental disease in cats may be nothing more than a little bad breath, but as problems persist you may notice a loss of appetite or see your cat drop food from his or her mouth. Though dogs rarely develop cavities, cat certainly can, in the form of "resorption lesions. "These lesions start as decay on the surface of the tooth, usually near the gum line, and they progress to form actual holes in the tooth enamel. The gums surrounding these affected teeth often become inflamed and irritated. Unfortunately, little is known about why these lesions develop, but they are not caused by eating too many sugary foods like human cavities are. We do know, however, that greater than half of all cats over 5 years of age will have one or more resorption lesions.
There are many stages of resorption lesions. The beginning stages are not painful because the decay is not near the nerve, but as the lesions progress toward the nerve, pain sensation increases and some cats begin to paw at their mouths, drop food when eating, stop grooming themselves and drool. And, amazingly, despite this pain, some cats don't show any signs at all.
When evaluating an affected cats' mouth, it is important to evaluate all of the teeth with dental x-rays to make sure other teeth aren't affected as well. Currently, the only treatment that works for these lesions is extraction of the affected teeth. These lesions can't be filled--like cavities with us--because the resorption continues to progress despite the treatment. Cats will be in less pain by removing the problem teeth, so the good news is that they will eat much better after the procedure. Of course, as with any surgical procedure, it will be necessary to extract the affected teeth under general anesthesia, so a thorough general pre-anesthetic physical including laboratory tests will be required prior to the procedure.
Though you may not be able to prevent the resorptive lesions in your feline friends, you can do a lot to help control other dental problems through a regimen of home dental care including frequent brushing, and having your cat brought in regularly for dental cleanings by your veterinarian.