Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions – FORL
Those were my exact words when I first read of this condition during my technician studies. Though this may be the first time you have heard of it, FORL is a very common conditions in cats. More then one-half of the feline population is affected with this FORL along with basic dental disease.
FORL appear as erosions of the surface of the tooth at the gingival border. They are often covered with calculus or gingival tissue. It is a progressive disease, usually starting with loss of cementum and dentin and leading to penetration of the pulp cavity.
The signs of FORL include pain caused by exposure of dentine. Dentine is material harder and denser than bone that comprises the bulk of a tooth. Because all patients react to pain differently, symptoms may vary. Common behavior changes include, lack of appetite, increase of salivation, aggression towards humans, other animals, and food. Other clinical signs include gingivitis, lesions, and hyperplastic gingiva. Dental radiographs are necessary to accurately diagnose and treat FORL.
There have been theories proposed regarding the cause of FORL since lesions have first been reported. Some suggest that acid regurgitation with hairballs and or acid produced by bacteria associated with periodontal disease are responsible. Most recent studies show that FORL may be caused by nutritional problems involving unknown genetic factors.
Patients may have teeth at various stages of resporption. Treatment will likely involve a significant amount of dental care with a few different options. Any significant dental work like fillings or crowns, will save the tooth and are generally with a Veterinary Dental Specialist. In most cases extraction is the best choice of treatment.