Dental health in Patients with Disabilities
Patients with Disabilities have an increased risk of experiencing oral and dental problems compared to other patient groups. Some patients with disabilities can not maintain their own dental hygiene and some may experience recurring dental and periodontal (gum tissue) related problems even after treatment.
To ensure the permanency of dental treatments, proper care and maintenance is crucial. This creates a hu7ge responsibility for the parents and family of patients with disabilities. These patients may need to have their oral and dental hygiene cared by others, sometimes with great effort, for at least 2 times a day.
Are Patients with Disabilities have increased risk of Periodontal Diseases?
Periodontal problems can be seen in most of the patients with disabilities. For example, weakened dental enamel resulting from high fever from earlier ages increasing risk of cavities, missing tooth from birth, malformed teeth and misalignment in jaw arc are quite commonly observed in most patients with disabilities.
Why Patients with disabilities have increased risk of dental problems?
Saliva secretion creates a natural cleaning for teeth mechanism during swallowing and chewing. However, certain patients with disabilities have difficulties with swallowing and chewing, due to certain problems with coordination of lips, tongue and check muscles. Especially patients suffering from muscle problems have increased difficulty in using dental floss or with brushing. Patients with swallowing and chewing difficulties usually eat their food in paste format, and these food pastes have increased risk of sticking to teeth and increasing the risk of tooth cavities. Consumption of high-sugar foods may also contribute to cavity formation.
Treatment methods for Patients with disabilities
Dental and oral treatment of Patients with disabilities may be more difficult both for the patient and their dental specialists due to physical and mental challenges involved in the process. Compatible patients undergo treatment with local anesthesia or under sedation, while non-compatible or uncooperative patients may need to be put under general anesthesia. Under this method, operation such as tooth removal for untreatable tooth conditions or periodontal treatments are performed in one session.