Tooth Resorption (TR) is an unfortunate condition of cats where the tooth structures slowly disintegrate. As the tooth and root resorption progress, sensitive dental tissue is exposed and pain results. The cause is unknown.
Tooth resorption is usually first noted on the lower premolar teeth where the gum meets the dental surface, but it can occur on any tooth. In patients where tooth resorption is visible on one tooth, it is likely that additional teeth will also be affected. Some cats will show pain and jaw spasms when the affected teeth are touched. Others will show increased salivation, oral bleeding, or difficulty eating. Despite the pain, some cats will show none of these signs.
When resorption is noted, intraoral x-rays are essential to evaluate the tooth to determine the best course of therapy. Extraction is always required when sensitive tooth tissues are exposed. Depending upon what is noted on x-ray of the tooth root, either full or modified extraction is indicated. If the periodontal ligament is visible on x-ray, the tooth and the entire root should be extracted via flap exposure. If the periodontal ligament is not visible, a modified extraction can be performed.