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Feline Tooth Resorption Syndrome… What is it? And how much will it cost to treat?

Although “Feline Tooth Resorption Syndrome” (TR) sounds extremely scary and rare, it affects up to two-thirds of all domestic cats. Hence, chances are, if you’ve ever owned a cat before, you may have even had a cat who suffered from this condition at one period of their life.

This begs the question…

“What is feline tooth resorption syndrome?”


“Should this be something that I need to worry about?”

Now, if you’ve recently been told that your cat is suffering from TR and you’re wondering what to do about it, keep on reading because, in this article, we’re going to attempt to answer some of the most frequent questions folks have about this condition as well as give you a basic idea about what it will be like to own a cat while going experiencing TR.

Feline Tooth Resorption Syndrome Defined

Scientifically, feline tooth resorption syndrome is a dental disease where the odontoclasts erode the dentin (the hard tissue under the enamel of teeth) found in the tooth structure. Some scientists believe the odontoclasts do this because of inflammation, while others believe there is no cause. And since we’re not doctors and we’re not necessarily interested in the “mechanics” of how TR occurs, we’ll spend the rest of our article focusing on what to look for and how to treat simply because “how” to avoid this condition is still somewhat of a mystery.

Which brings us…

An important note that we should make is if you do begin to do a bit more research about TR, you’re going to find that feline tooth resorption syndrome can and will go by various names, all of which mean essentially the same thing. Some of the terms you may encounter may include:

  • Feline oral resorptive lesions (FORL),
  • Odontoclastic resorptions,
  • Caries,
  • Cervical neck lesions,
  • External root resorptions,
  • Internal root resorptions,
  • And cervical line erosions.

Now that’s a mouthful.

Breeds susceptible to TR include…

Purebreds… specifically Persian and Siamese, because they may be genetically predisposed to having TR. Although all cat breeds are susceptible to TR, even if you have a regular sta, don’t feel like you’re off the hook! So, if you want to spare your pet the pain of untreated tooth resorption in the future, here are some symptoms to look out for in tooth resorption in cats:

  • Any signs your pet is in pain,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Chewing on one side of their mouth,
  • A build-up of plaque on only one side of their mouth,
    • Suggests they only have been chewing on one side.
  • Inflamed gums,
  • Gingival(gum) tissue growing over the base of the tooth,
  • Don’t chew their food or dry food comes up whole and unchewed when regurgitated,
  • Behavioral changes,
    • Not wanting to exercise or play.
  • Mouth sensitivity,
  • Fractured teeth,
  • Lost teeth,
  • Weight loss,
  • Resorptive lesions in gum tissue,

And since these symptoms can be excruciating, it is best to get your cat to the veterinarian ASAP if you suspect they may be suffering from a reabsorbed tooth. Clinical signs are challenging to see without a trained eye because the reabsorbed tissue can be obscured by tartar, so you may have to base your suspicions on your cat’s behavior alone.

Diagnosing TR…

It usually occurs during an oral examination, dental cleaning, or a routine check-up. A veterinarian will then typically take a dental x-ray of your furry friend’s mouth to see the severity of TR and the strength of the tooth. This imaging is what the vet will typically use to decide what treatment is needed and best for your loved one.

The good news is…

There is a treatment for TR, but it is pretty drastic. Sometimes, a crown can be used if the root has been reabsorbed, but complete tooth extraction is needed for almost all cases because the heart is still present. This also requires your four-legged family member to be put under anesthesia and, after the procedure, necessitates pain medications to ease the pain.

The bad news is…

These procedures are expensive and might need to be repeated if your cat develops TR in another tooth later in life. The diagnosis alone can also be a bit pricy with the vet visit (~$100) and a dental x-ray that can cost $50 – $100.

The extraction can cost anywhere from $500 – $900, including the procedure, anesthetic, and pain medications. That cost is only for one tooth, and cats sometimes have more than one tooth affected with TR.

Which brings us…

To the point of the article where we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not medical professionals and are certainly not veterinarians. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and want to help pet owners do what’s best for their loved ones. So, if your furry buddy does turn out to have TR or any other medical issues, the treatments can become very expensive very quickly. This is why, here at IndulgeYourPet, we always recommend checking out Pet Insurance to see if it is right for you.

Especially if you are considering adding a new furry member to your family, this way, if any unexpected vet bills do “pop up,” you won’t necessarily be on the hook for 100% of those costs on your own!

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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