Tooth Root (Apical) Abscess in Cats
Much like humans, cats experience apical abscesses, or pus formations that form under or in the tissues surrounding the cat's tooth.
Abscesses occur for a variety of reasons, cause extreme pain, and can be treated with much success. If left untreated, however, bacteria can spead into other areas of the mouth, causing serious medical conditions.
Apical abscesses affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how this condition affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
Symptoms and Types
You may notice one or more of the following signs when a cat is suffering from a tooth root abscess:
- Bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Facial swelling
- A visibly broken tooth
- A strongly discolored tooth
- An inability to chew
- Increased presence of plaque on teeth
Periodontal disease can cause the formation of an abscess, which is more common in cats that have a tendency to bite or chew frequently. If left untreated, facial or mouth traumas, bacterial infections, and diabetes can all contribute to the formation of an abscess.
An oral and dental examination can identify if your cat has an abscess. Blood tests, on the other hand, can be used to determine if the abscess is caused by a more serious underlying medical condition.
It is common to drain the fluid under or surrounding the tooth; this helps to eliminate any infection. In many cases, the tooth will be extracted to expedite the cat's recovery time. Cold packs and antibiotics will help to reduce the inflammation, and pain medication will be given to provide comfort during your pet's recovery.
Living and Management
During the follow-up exam (within 7 to 10 days of treatment), the veterinarian will test for sensitivity, check for healing at the site of the extracted tooth, and ensure there are no infections present. Infection is a common issue, so limit chewing, biting, and hard foods to help with the healing process.
Several behavioral changes can be made to hasten the cat's recovery, such as eliminating any toys that may be too tough to bite on. Additionally, bring the cat in for regular oral exams to check for any tooth abnormalities.
Strong oral hygiene and maintenance can work to prevent the formation of abscesses in the cat's mouth. Limiting the amount of chewing on hard objects or pulling on the cat's teeth (through tugging) will also help reduce the likelihood of an abscess.