Sufferers of epilepsy face unique dental challenges in addition to those faced by the general population. Certain anti-seizure medications such as Phenytoin, Carbatrol, or Tegratol are known to produce side-effects such as gum overgrowth, bleeding gums, and dry mouth. All of these side effects can weaken teeth and the surrounding gum and bone tissues.
As well as that, the teeth of epileptics are also at risk from seizures that occur both during the day and at night. During a seizure, epileptics often grit their teeth, causing them to break or crack. Epileptic seizures, when combined with the negative side-effects of anti-seizure medication, put a huge strain on the teeth of the over 250,000 Australian epileptics.
Fortunately, dentistry can replace and protect the teeth of epileptics.
Dental Implants Are Suitable for Epileptics
As long as there is enough jawbone available for the dental implants to be screwed into the jaw, dental implants can replace the lost and damaged teeth of epileptics. This is backed up by a study in 2009 which found that dental implant failure in patients with severe epilepsy was rare. Once the implants are in place, healing takes approximately 3-6 months, during which time the titanium posts integrate with the bone.
Later, when healing is complete, a porcelain crown is placed onto the post, allowing patients to eat and speak more comfortably. Porcelain is also slightly harder than enamel making it more durable. However, because of that, epileptics should either refrain from having implants placed opposite natural teeth or ask their dentist for a mouth-guard to protect those teeth during seizures.
A Mouth-Guard Should Be Used
Mouth-guards are especially important for epileptics that suffer from nocturnal seizures as the damage can be severe and may even go unnoticed. However, those who opt to replace teeth with dental implants should also purchase a mouth-guard. Although wearing a mouth-guard throughout the day won't always be possible, patients can prolong the life of their teeth and dental implants by doing so.
The Appropriate Treatment Setting is Important
For epileptics that suffer regular seizures, a hospital setting is most appropriate. Furthermore, anyone wishing to have dental implants placed in a normal dental surgery should ensure that they inform their dentist of their full dental history along with any medications they are taking. Some drugs can cause anti-seizure medications to stop working so it is important that you and your dentist are fully aware of this beforehand.
If epilepsy has damaged your teeth, dental implants can restore your smile to its former glory.