Resorptive Lesions are a very painful and unfortunately a common dental problem that at least 50% of the cat population suffers from. There is no known cause as to why this occurs.
Resorptive Lesions formerly called “Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions” (FORL), occur when the body starts to breakdown the root until the crown of the tooth falls out. It is a similar process that occurs when the baby (primary) teeth fall out, it starts at the bottom of the root and continues up the root until the crown of the tooth falls out. During this process there is no exposure at the gum line, therefore no discomfort is felt. However, when resorption of the adult teeth start it can begin anywhere on the root and at times we will see the lesions right at the gum line. When this is seen, it is very painful and needs to be addressed.
Sometimes the lesions cannot be diagnosed until we do full mouth x-rays. At that time the Veterinarian will assess the x-rays and based on what they see will recommend extractions of the affected teeth as this process cannot be reversed or slowed down. Also, once a cat has been diagnosed with resorptive lesions they are likely to develop more and should be monitored closely for new lesions.
By – Bonnie Tatton, VT