For many years the veterinary profession had ignored oral health. We have realised in the last 20 years how important good oral health is to the general well being of your pet. The main oral problem we see in dogs and cats is periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is an insidious, chronic disease. It causes pain and suffering.
One of the most common statements from owners is that their pet is still eating well and does not seem to be in pain. The other frequent statement we hear is how much better their pet is after having treatment for periodontal disease. This disease slowly gets worse over time and we just don't notice the progression. Most pets are middle aged and their lethargy just gets put down to advancing years. Pets with periodontal disease are at risk for infections elswhere in the body because every time they eat, bacteria are released into the blood stream and can lodge in the heart valves or kidneys. At Abbotts Way Veterinary Clinic we grade your pets teeth at every visit and if prophylactic cleaning is required we will advise you accordingly.
We call them forls, neck lesions, or cervical lesions. The correct name is Feline Odontoclastic Resorbative Lesions. So what are they, why do they occur, and how do we treat them.
Tooth resorption is the most common dental problem in cats, with studies worldwide showing a prevalence rate (in cats presented for dental problems) of up to 75%. Many species of animals as well as people experience various types of tooth resorption, but no other species experiences the prevalence of this condition that cats do. Resorptions of permanent teeth in cats have commonly been referred to as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs). They have also been called neck lesions, cervical line erosions, and feline caries.
Our understanding of FORLs has been enlightened by the use of dental radiography and by histologic studies. It appears that the lesions originate in the cementum, invade into dentin, and, from there, can progress apically (down the root), coronally (toward the crown), or both ways. Enamel often flakes off if its underlying dentin is involved. Enamel may also be resorbed (but from the inside out) once the lesion has progressed coronally into the tooth crown. The bottom line is that by the time we can clinically detect even small lesions by visual inspection or by probing or exploring, we are encountering an end-stage lesion. The cause of FORLs is unknown but is under investigation. All tooth-saving treatments have been shown to have poor results. Currently we extract any teeth affected with this problem.