Parkinson’s disease and your oral health
How can Parkinson’s disease affect your dental treatment?
Parkinson’s disease affects adults in their middle and late lifespan. It is caused by the progressive degeneration of the nerve cells in their brains. The result is a decrease in dopamine levels. This chemical is used to transmit messages between cells. People afflicted with Parkinson’s disease have movements that they can’t control and muscle stiffness.
Several people with Parkinson’s disease are already old and then are less likely to look for dental treatments unless they are emergencies. The older adults can also experience other troubles in getting dental care like transportation and other chronic illnesses.
If you have dentures then it could become more and more difficult to wear them as your disease gets worse. Partial dentures can be dislodged or swallowed while the larger dentures could fall out more often. They can even break after sudden movements or they could no longer fit properly at some point in time.
There are medications taken by people with Parkinson’s disease that cause xerostomia or what people may know as dry mouth. It can increase your risk of tooth decay, fungal infections, and yeast infections. Since there is less saliva in your mouth to wash away the food particles and bacteria, you are more likely to get tooth decay. People with Parkinson’s disease are usually prescribed with topical fluoride treatments or artificial saliva solutions that will help them prevent tooth decay.
Parkinson’s disease can be made worse if you are anxious. It is important that you remain calm when you are going through dental treatment. Your dentist will make your environment as low-stress and as serene as possible. It helps if you keep your appointments short instead of having long ones because long dental treatments may cause stress on your part.
Tremors that are caused by Parkinson’s disease can make your dental appointments a challenge. If your Parkinson’s disease is already very severe then you may have to go through dental treatment in a hospital. You may also opt for sedation at the dental office if permissible.
You may have a hard time opening your mouth for long periods of time so your dentist may use some special devices. Your dentist may use a rubber bite block that will be placed in between your teeth. This will keep your mouth open. You may also have a hard time keeping your tongue still. In order to manage this, your dentist will use a tongue retractor. This will keep your tongue in one place. In addition to these devices, your dentist may also use a thin piece of rubber called a rubber dam. This rubber dam will be stretched over your teeth. It will be used to prevent any foreign substances from entering your mouth during the dental procedure.