Quiz: What part of the cat’s body is affected by a cervical neck lesion?
Did you guess neck? Sounds logical, but cervical neck lesions, also known as feline oral resorptive lesions (FORL), affect the lower jaw premolars where the gum meets the tooth’s surface. The reason why cats get resorptive lesions is unknown, but research shows a link between calcium metabolism, chronic calicivirus infections, or an autoimmune response. The feline oral resorptive lesion is one of the most common oral problems seen in a veterinary clinic.
How do I know if my cat has a feline oral resorptive lesion?
Tooth resorption is a progressive disease. The bony substance that covers the root and tooth breakdown the layers of the tooth exposing the pulp cavity and nerves. The lesion can be covered with inflamed gum tissue and causes pain as it erodes into the underlying dentin. You may not be able to see the resorptive lesions but may notice your cat having difficulty eating, drooling or increased salivation, bleeding gums or muscular spasms, or trembling of the jaw whenever the tooth area is touched.
How are feline oral resorptive lesions treated?
Resorptive lesions are identified in stages and treatment is based on the severity.
- Stage 1 – An enamel defect is noted and is minimally painful. Treatment usually involves a professional dental cleaning and polishing.
- Stage 2 – The lesion has penetrated the enamel and dentin. Dental x-rays are required to determine if the lesion has affected the tooth’s pulp. Some veterinarians may treat the teeth with a restorative to desensitize the exposed dentin and strengthen the enamel. However, this treatment does not stop the progression of the resorptive lesion and the doctors at Neartown Animal Clinic recommend extraction.
- Stage 3 – The resorptive lesion has extended into the tooth’s root. Dental x-rays are required to confirm this. At this point, extraction of the tooth is necessary.
- Stage 4 – The crown has been eroded or fractured and the gum tissue can grow over the root fragments leaving a painful or bleeding lesion. Extraction of the tooth fragments is required.
If your cat is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.