resorptive lesions are commonly found when evaluating dental
disease in cats. Studies have shown that up to 30% of the domestic
cat population is affected. Technically termed Feline
Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions, these defects are commonly
referred to as cervical erosions, cervical line lesions, “neck
lesions”, or more appropriately just, resorptive lesions. The cause
of these lesions is poorly understood, but they are frequently
associated with gingivitis or the more advanced periodontal
disease, periodontitis. These lesions expose the nerve endings in
the tooth and cause considerable pain.
are maintained by a balance between body cells that are depositing
tooth structure and cells that are removing tooth structure.
Resorptive lesions develop whenever the cells removing tooth
material become more active than those forming tooth material. The
result is a gradual eating away of the tooth. This can happen
internally inside the crown, deep below the gum line in the roots,
or at the neck of the tooth. The older term neck lesion describes
this common location.
Feline teeth are quite thin and, severe tooth damage can occur in a
relatively short period of time. The fact that this erosion process
is frequently occurring below the gum line and “out of sight”,
makes early detection difficult. Most often, it is not discovered
until severe damage has already occurred.
affected teeth must be extracted. Lesions that are superficial
and not yet into the pulp can be restored (filled).
Unfortunately, experience has taught us that the resorption process
usually continues despite our attempts at restoration. Early
erosions (those not yet through the enamel) can be treated with
either a fluoride varnish or a layer of fluoride-releasing dental
experience has taught us that the resorptive process continues
despite the fillings.
In addition to
these hospital treatments, control is difficult without regular
home care. Frequent brushing with a germicidal dentifrice will help
control the gum disease which is associated with one type of
resorption. The other type develops independent of the level of gum
disease and, as yet, there is no known way to prevent