The case of hidden tooth resorption…

Close up lesions

A professional veterinary dental cleaning is far more than a simple “scale and polish”.  While this is a key purpose for the procedure, there is another aspect which is as important (and actually in some cases MORE important) than the cleaning itself.  That is the oral examination and dental radiographs under anesthesia, almost always the only way painful problems can be identified in pets mouths.

Candace was brought in for her routine cleaning, just as her owners had done the year prior.  Upon an initial look, the teeth appear fairly clean and there is no evidence of significant infection or painful lesions.

Preop Picture

Pre-op picture of the patient taken from outside the mouth. The teeth are fairly clean and there is no evidence of pain or infection.

preop interior

Pre-op picture of the patient taken from inside the mouth. Can you see the lesion on this view?

Close up lesions

close up picture of the patients mouth where the 3 tooth resorption lesions can be seen (blue arrows).


Dental radiograph of the involved teeth showing marked resorptiom (red arrows) despite minimal external changes.

As is commonly the case, this cat had no evidence of resorption on the outer aspect of her teeth, where resorption is most commonly seen.  Of the seven teeth that were extracted to treat the resorption, all were removed because of inner “not-so easily-seen” disease. Candace is now a much happier cat without painful dental disease.

While there are many things that can be found on an awake dental exam, the simple fact is that pets can suffer unnecessarily if not evaluated thoroughly under anesthesia for dental infection and disease.