muscular dystrophy and your oral health
How can muscular dystrophy affect your dental treatment?
Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that causes your muscles to become weak. The disease gets worse over time and ends up very severe. There are a lot of types of muscular dystrophy. These are caused by different genes and have varying symptoms. Certain types of muscular dystrophy affect the muscles in your neck, head, hands, and face. For instance, those with myotonic dystrophy can have trouble moving their lips, turning their head, and chewing. Other types of muscular dystrophy do not affect the facial muscles.
For some people with muscular dystrophy, the upper teeth and the lower teeth do not meet properly. It could be caused by weakness of the muscles or by the tongue pushing the teeth outward to the lips. People with muscular dystrophy can have trouble with their jaw joints or their temporomandibular joints. This may lead to trouble with chewing, headaches, clicking of the joints, and tenderness of the muscles. Several people with muscular dystrophy have a hard time brushing their teeth, flossing, and rinsing. There are electric toothbrushes out there and other tools that can help in keeping your mouth healthy.
Your treatment at the dentist will depend on the severity of your muscular dystrophy. Bring a list of your medications and the respective dosages when you visit your dentist. You should tell your dentist and your physician to collaborate so that they can provide you with the best dental and medical treatment possible.
You should keep your dental appointments as short as possible. If your dental treatment is too long then you may become stressed. This will worsen your condition and is certainly not good for you. You may also have trouble getting in and out of the dental chair. If you are paralyzed then your dentist could use some padding in the treatment chair and change your body position from time to time so that pressure sores and pain is minimized. There could be a dental assistant around that could help you get in and out of the dental chair. If you can not be moved out of your wheelchair then your dentist could treat you on the spot already. If your condition is very severe then you may have to be treated in a hospital.
You may have difficulty controlling your tongue movements and keeping your mouth open for a long time. Your dentist will use special devices for this. Your dentist could use a rubber bite block that will be placed between your teeth. This will keep your mouth open and it will reduce the stress on your oral muscles. Your dentist can use a tongue retractor in order to keep your tongue from moving around. Your dentist could use a rubber dam that will be stretched over your teeth. This will prevent you from inhaling any foreign substances while you get treated at your dentist’s office. You should be aware of sedatives during dental treatments because this could make your muscle control even worse.