Periodontal Disease – Tooth Elongation

January 2006
Dr Gerhard Steenkamp

A 7 year-old cat is presented to your clinic.  It is the owners opinion that the right maxillary canine has started to grow again, as it is longer than the left one. (DSC 05705)

a) Is it possible for tooth development/eruption to continue at 7 years of age in a cat?
b) What pathological conditions may give rise to this phenomenon?
c) What treatment options are available for these conditions?


a) Development and eruption of the permanent canine  is completed by 3-4 months of age in cats.  As these teeth do not have reserve crowns like herbivores (hypsodont teeth) no further development or eruption can take place
b) Periodontal disease, Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, Avulsion (extrusion).
c) In cases of periodontal disease and or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, periapical pathology is frequently present.  With loss of the periodontal attachment of a tooth the tooth becomes mobile and if pressure should increase secondary to infection (abscess) the tooth may be extruded from its alveolus (DSC 01151). Extraction is the only predictable treatment in these cases.

Avulsion fractures are uncommon in cats but can be possible after trauma (motor vehicle accidents).

Reimplantation of the tooth as soon as possible after the incident may save the functionality of the tooth. 

The reimplanted tooth will require root canal treatment approximately 3 weeks post implantation as the blood supply to the pulp would have been severed. In cases where the avulsion is older than a few hours or where reimplantation is not indicated, extraction is indicated.



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