Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL’s)

In the above photo you can see the middle tooth is healthy, with well-defined roots and normal opacity. The teeth on either side are FORL’s and the root structure and dentin has eroded and decayed. These teeth appeared relatively normal on examination, with only subtle changes. This is why dental radiographs are critical in diagnosing these painful lesions.
In the above photo you can see the middle tooth is healthy, with well-defined roots and normal opacity. The teeth on either side are FORL’s and the root structure and dentin has eroded and decayed. These teeth appeared relatively normal on examination, with only subtle changes. This is why dental radiographs are critical in diagnosing these painful lesions.

The name is a mouthful (literally!). Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive lesions, or “FORL’s” are a painful process in which the dentin (the bulk of tooth structure) is destructed.

FORL’s affect “an estimated 20 percent to 60 percent of all cats and close to three-quarters of those five years of age and older,” (Tooth Resorption, 2022). The lesions are very painful and can result in infection if the pulp cavity of the tooth becomes exposed through the resorptive process. Cats are very stoic creatures and therefore hide symptoms of pain well, however signs to look out for include: pawing at the mouth, chewing on one side, a new preference to soft food, or swallowing food whole. The cause is unfortunately unknown, which is frustrating for both veterinarians and clients alike, as it makes preventing the lesions impossible. However, through early detection we can begin the course of treatment. The best way to ensure your cats dental health is up-to-date is to bring your little one in for a consultation and dental check (which is included in their annual vaccination!). The only definitive way to diagnose resorptive lesions is with a dental x-ray. Luckily, extraction of the affected teeth is generally curative and alleviates the painful stimulation.

Sources:

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. 2022. Tooth Resorption. [online] Available at: <https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/tooth-resorption#:~:text=In%20a%20condition%20known%20as,and%20eventually%20becomes%20irreparably%20destroyed.> [Accessed 12 October 2022].

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