If you wear braces, you'll probably enjoy an uneventful treatment period; however, if you have a neurological condition, you may experience a few problems along the way. Having certain neurological conditions as well as taking medications used in the treatment of these conditions can lead to problems with your teeth and gums, which can alter the effectiveness of your braces treatment. Here are three ways neurological disorders can hinder your orthodontic treatment and what you can do about them:
If you have epilepsy or another type of seizure disorder, your doctor may have prescribed anti-seizure medications to help decrease the frequency and intensity of your seizures. While these medications are very effective in the management of seizures, they can lead to a condition known as gum overgrowth, or gingival hyperplasia.
This condition refers to overgrown, painful, and inflamed gums that often bleed upon the slightest touch. This can make it difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene when wearing your braces because anti-seizure medications can cause your gums to grow over and in-between your brackets, raising the risk for infection.
If you notice any unusual swelling, pain, or bleeding of your gums while taking anti-seizure medication, let your orthodontist know. He or she may recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash to help get rid of bacteria trapped under your braces and inflamed gum tissue.
Neurological conditions can also lead to the release of chemicals known as cytokines. When cytokines are released into your bloodstream, it can trigger an inflammatory response throughout your entire body, including your oral cavity. This means that your gums can swell, as well as your throat, tongue, and lining of your cheeks. When oral inflammation is present, your hardware may become too tight, leading to improper dental shifting and gum trauma.
Antihistamines and aspirin may have the potential to reduce cytokine expression, and, therefore, help dampen systemic inflammation. Do not take these medications, however, until you speak with your primary physician, especially if you are taking medications to manage neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, stroke, or a spinal cord injury.
If you suffered a cerebral vascular accident, or stroke, your doctor may have recommended anti-thrombolytic medication. These medications include prescription anticoagulant drugs as well as over-the-counter aspirin. While both are effective in the prevention of blood clots, they may lead to abnormal or uncontrollable bleeding, including bleeding in your mouth.
If you take anticoagulant medications, avoid vigorous brushing and flossing because your gums may bleed profusely if you are too rough during your oral care routine. Although bleeding gums might discourage you from properly brushing and flossing, it is important that you don't stop caring for your teeth, especially while your braces are on. Neglecting oral health, coupled with wearing braces, can raise your risk for periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease that can lead to bone destruction in your mouth.
If you wear braces and suffer from a neurological disorder, work with both your dentist and physician to develop an effective treatment plan. When both disciplines are involved in your care, your risk for oral problems will be greatly reduced.