Dental Feature: Laser Therapy and Extraction


Breed: Domestic Shorthair

TMJ Dysplasia and Tooth Resorption

One of the most common signs of oral health issues in pets is difficulty eating. Some pets drool or even refuse to eat when their teeth or gums hurt. This three-year-old cat was demonstrating signs of pain while chewing and was referred to a dental specialist for a full oral examination.

While under general anesthesia, tooth resorptions of the right and left lower third premolars were observed. The cat's lower third premolars were both extracted to address this issue.

Periodontal loss and tooth resorption

Physical examination also showed discomfort upon moderate lateral compression around both temporomandibular joints. X-rays of the temporomandibular joints revealed TMJ dysplasia. The cat's glenoid cavity was malformed and not accepting the temporomandibular joint properly.

VD skull film

Lateral oblique skull film revealing TMJ pathology

The TMJ dysplasia was treated with laser therapy. In this case, a high frequency therapy laser was held one inch from the cat's temporomandibular joint and energy was applied for approximately three minutes to each side. The laser treatment removed inflammatory cells, which minimized the pet's pain and aided in the healing process.

The patient received the laser therapy three times the first week, two times the second week and once a week for three additional treatments. All presenting complaints were resolved. Jaw surgery did not need to be performed, and within two weeks, she was back to chewing her food normally. But because the laser therapy did not anatomically change the temporomandibular joints, further care may be needed.

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