Epilepsy and your oral health

If you are taking phenytoin, Dilantin, or other anti-seizure medications to treat your epilepsy then there is a chance that your gums will overgrow. It is an effect that happens in about one out of two people taking phenytoin. This gum overgrowth can be limited and prevented by practicing good oral hygiene all the time. Gingivectomy or a surgery on the gums may be needed for those patients who have severe gum overgrowth. If your overgrown gum tissue is not treated right away then the bones supporting your teeth may be lost. Those who stop taking phenytoin will have a significant gum recession although some people may still need to go through a gingivectomy. Children who take phenytoin chewable tablets or syrups must practice good oral hygiene as well because such medications are high in sugar. Those who are taking carbamazepine, Tegretol, or Carbatrol can also experience bleeding of the gums, dry mouth or xerostomia, or both of them.

Routine dental treatment for people who can control their epilepsy is the same as dental treatment for the people who do not have epilepsy. Sedation and an increase in anti seizure medication are not necessary on a routine basis. If you have seizures on a regular basis then you may have to go through dental treatment in a hospital-based dental practice.

Make sure that your dentist is familiar with your dental history. You should tell your dentist about the triggers for your seizures and how often you have them. Inform your dentist about the medications you are taking and their corresponding dosages. Several drugs can interact with anti-seizure medications and they may end up not working.