FORLs, a painful mouthful!

FORL stands for Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive lesion (which is why vets call them FORLs lesions!) and they are amongst the most painful of dental problems a cat can suffer. They are extemely common with many cats having multiple teeth affected. Some cats are thought to have a genetic predisposition to developing FORLs but the exact cause remains unknown.

What are FORLs?

FORLs occur when a cell within the tooth starts to eat away at the tooth. At first it’s only the surface layers of the tooth that are destroyed. These lesions look like a chip in the tooth and are minimally painful. But then the lesion becomes deeper and the sensitive inner layers of the tooth or tooth root are exposed. This is very, very painful. Cats may drool, bleed from the tooth or have difficulty eating. They may also hide their pain but be very reluctant to have their mouth touched or examined. Many cats suffer in silence with these lesions until they are picked up on a veterinary examination.

FORLs can progress even further. So much of the tooth can be eroded away that the crown, the tooth above the gum, may snap off. Root fragments are often left behind, causing pain and potential infection.

Dental X-rays – are they needed?

FORLs are one of the reasons that regular veterinary examination of your cat’s dental health is so important. If changes to the teeth are noted a full dental assessment is needed, including X-rays. X-rays are a great help to vets as they allow us to diagnose which teeth are affected and what treatment is needed. Inner South Veterinary Centre has a modern, advanced dental X-ray unit, We do not want to miss any of these painful teeth!

Very early FORLs may be controlled with a through dental scale and polish. More advanced lesions require extraction. Any retained roots also need to be extracted. These teeth are diseased beyond repair and your cat is absolutely not going to miss them! Many a kitty has woken up from their dental and been a different cat once they realise they have a pain free mouth. They eat better, groom better, are often brighter and happier and may even be happy to have their mouth examined in the future!

So if you think your cat might be experiencing dental pain, please come in for an examination. And even if they are showing no signs, make sure they have regular veterinary health checks. The more FORLs that can be detected and treated, the happier our cats will be!

Book in today for a free dental health check.