Resorptive Lesions

Definition

A resorptive lesion (RL), also known as a neck lesion, or (feline) odontoclastic resorptive lesion, is a defect of the tooth caused by the action of cells called odontoclasts. Tooth structure is destroyed and the lesion becomes evident when it starts affecting the crown of the tooth. The actual cause of the lesions is unknown, although the  mechanism of the process is now better understood. Most commonly seen in cats (FORLs) resorptive lesions occur in many species including man, dogs, marmosets and chinchillas. We know from human cases that when the lesions become evident on the crown surface, these lesions are painful and need treatment.

Diagnosis

The lesions always start on the root surface and only becomes clinically visible when the lesion extends on to the crown. The appearance on the tooth may be hidden by an overgrowth of gum tissue. The tooth may also have a pink spot or part of the crown may be missing. Absent teeth in cats are usually associated with this condition.

Treatment

Heavy tartar on a cats tooth might hide an underlying lesion and as a result the lesions are only identified when the cat is having a dental treatment.  XRAYS ARE ESSENTIAL when assessing and treating cats affected by RLs. An appropriate treatment plan can not be established without prior information gained from the x-rays.

Currently extraction is the only treatment available for teeth affected by these lesions but the nature of the lesion makes the extraction process extremely challenging.

Prevention

Since the actual the actual cause is unknown, specific prevention is not possible. Good oral hygiene may help.