Epilepsy is a condition in which nerve cell activity in the brain triggers seizures. Most epileptics have a routine for handling a seizure when they feel one coming on, but that doesn’t mean they can totally control their actions during a seizure, and one area that can often be affected by these uncontrolled movements is their mouth.
Epileptic seizures can cause a variety of dental issues, and oftentimes epileptics have to visit the dentist more frequently than an individual without these seizures. Some of the potential problems caused by uncontrolled movements during seizures include:
- Bites to the tongue or creek from uncontrolled biting.
- Chipped or cracked teeth.
- Displaced teeth.
- Jaw fractures or jaw dislocations.
- Punctures to other surfaces, including the lips.
If you are prone to epileptic seizures, talk to your doctor and dentist about the best ways to limit and prevent damage that may be occuring to your mouth when a seizure hits. They’ll want to know more about the specifics of your seizures, but odds are they can help you minimize damage to your mouth during these unfortunate events.
Seizure Medications and Your Oral Health
The good news is that if you’re epileptic, modern medicine can likely help to reduce or even eliminate your seizures. The bad news is that a lot of the medications that can help with your seizures have potential side effects for your teeth.
For example, many seizure medications list potential side effects such as bleeding gums, overgrown gums, tongue swelling and mouth ulcers. They are common symptoms, but when they do develop they can cause a host of problems for your teeth. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about switching medications to see if you can experience seizure relief and avoid dental issues. If you can’t safely switch medications, or the oral side effects outweigh the fear of an unplanned seizure, just be sure you are doing what you can to protect your mouth throughout the day. Brush your teeth regularly, floss at least once a day, and make sure you are getting regular dental checkups throughout the year.
One last point based on that last sentence. If you are prone to seizures, make sure your dentist knows this and you try to schedule your dental appointment at times when you are low-risk for a seizure. Most dentists have equipment like eye covers, ear plugs or headphones which can help to keep a seizure at bay, so for your safety and for our safety, do what you can to help prevent a seizure at the dentist’s office. We know they aren’t 100 percent preventable, but if you take precautions and we’re on our toes, we can make sure your visit runs as smoothly as possible.
For more information, or to schedule your next dentist appointment with Dr. Brooks, reach out to his office today.