Computed Tomography Of Tooth Resorption In Cats

Lang LG, Wilkinson TE, White TL, et al.

Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2016;57:467-474.

Tooth resorption is the most common dental disease in cats and can be a source of oral pain. The current clinical gold standard for diagnosis includes a combination of oral exam and dental radiography, however early lesions are not always detected. Computed tomography (CT) of the skull, including the dental arches, is a commonly performed diagnostic procedure, however the appearance of tooth resorption on CT and the diagnostic ability of CT to detect tooth resorption have not been evaluated. The purpose of this prospective, descriptive, diagnostic accuracy study was to characterize the CT appearance of tooth resorption in a sample of affected cats and to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of CT for tooth resorption compared to the clinical gold standard of oral exam and intraoral dental radiography. Twenty-eight cat cadaver specimens were recruited for inclusion. Each specimen was evaluated using oral exam, intraoral dental radiography, and computed tomography (four different slice thicknesses). Each tooth was evaluated for the presence or absence of tooth resorption. Teeth with lesions and a subset of normal teeth were evaluated with histopathology. On CT, tooth resorption appeared as irregularly marginated hypoattenuating defects in the mineral attenuating tooth components, most commonly involving the root or cementoenamel junction. Sensitivity for CT detection of tooth resorption was fair to poor (42.2–57.7%) and specificity was good to excellent (92.8–96.3%). Findings from this study indicated that CT has high specificity but low sensitivity for detection of tooth resorption in cats.