A resorptive lesion (RL), also known as a neck lesion, feline orodontoclastic resorptive lesion, is a defect of the tooth caused by the action of cells called odontoclasts. Tooth structure is destroyed and the lesion becomes evident when it starts affecting the crown of the tooth. The actual cause of the lesion is unknown, although the mechanism of the process is now better understood. Resorptive lesions occur in many species including man, cats, dogs, marmosets and chinchillas. We know form human cases that when the lesions become evident on the crown surface, these lesions are painful and need treatment.
The lesions always start on the root surface and only become clinically visible when the lesion extends on to the crown. The appearance on the tooth may be hidden by an overgrowth of gum tissue. The tooth may also have a pink spot or part of the crown may be missing. Absent teeth in cats are usually associated with this condition.
Heavy tartar on a cats tooth might hide underlying lesions and as a result the lesions are only identified when the cat is having a dental treatment.
Currently extraction is the only treatment for teeth affected by these lesions but the nature of the lesion makes the extraction process extremely challenging.
Since the actual cause is unknown, specific prevention is not possible. Good oral hygiene may help.