Our world helps people with disabilities getting a better life in all the aspects. One of the aspects that are really frequent for these people is the once of dental problems. Dentists all over the world face some new challenges, trying to maintain a healthy state of teeth for people with disabilities. As we all know, disabilities come in several categories. In this article, we will review the most common dental problems for people with disabilities divided by the type of oral problems and how exactly we can help them. All these efforts result in a better quality of life for more people, including people with disabilities.
This is a common problem in the general population, which has significantly increased in people with disabilities. This provokes the loss of teeth and its barrier from external food and bacteria. Most of dental caries come from hygiene habits and diet. A diet high in sugar increases the chances of getting dental caries. For disabled people, this problem gets worse, as caregivers are responsible for teeth brushing in some cases. One way that caregivers can improve this problem is by using fluorides, which will prevent more dental deterioration. They also need to reduce the intake of cariogenic food such as sugar. If the disabled people can brush his or her tooth, this will significantly reduce the odds of getting dental caries. If the disabled people can’t do it, then it is something that the caregiver should provide.
There are some factors that increase the odds of getting periodontal disease. For people with seizures, some anticonvulsants can cause gingival hyperplasia (phenytoin). It is also common for people with disabilities to present some form of immunosuppression, that increases the infections in gingival areas and this exacerbates periodontal disease. One way to help disabled people with the periodontal disease is to use some form of antimicrobial liquid such as chlorhexidine. It is also important to maintain proper oral hygiene.
Malocclusion means that the formation of mandibula and position of teeth are not in the correct one. That can cause serious problems in the functional ability of someone’s mouth as well as can also lead to the other problems such as tooth pain. Some disabled people have frequently delayed tooth eruption and bad development of maxilla. Problems with chewing in these patients make alimentation a difficult task and this dramatically deteriorates the quality of life. With problems like this one of malocclusion, it is needed to contact a dentist for solving those problems, as they are the only ones capable of doing that. The important thing here for caregivers is to identify a possible situation of malocclusion based on symptoms and then he or she needs to contact a dentist.
Damaging Oral Habits
This is a problem that can be originated from mental disorders that can cause behavioral diseases. Habits such as bruxism, food pouching and lip biting can be the origin of this. Here are the options for caregivers, trying to control behavioral diseases, rehab can be of much help to them. In case of behavior can’t be controlled, then the caregiver needs to inspect the mouth of the disabled people in order to find food in there or other objects, therefore it is easier to diagnose these problems.
Like we have talked about it earlier, disabled people can present malformation in maxilla and mandibula. In addition to that, there is also common to find dry mouth syndromes, all of those factors increase dramatically the odds of presenting oral problems and dental malformations. Some of these malformations can be corrected via surgery, each case needs to be individualized in order to determine what the best thing to correct that is.
In Down Syndrome, it is common to find that tooth erupts later in comparison with the normal development. They usually present their first tooth eruption by the age of 2. These problems can cause gingival hyperplasia. For caregivers it is important to keep that in mind because they will face more dental problems with disabled people, they need to improve oral hygiene in order to prevent heavier problems.
General Health Problems
Disabled people who have, for example, seizures, present high possibilities of presenting injury and tooth trauma because of that. It’s also something common for people with mental disabilities to cause some injuries to his or her teeth. Those problems make that these dental problems are more difficult to treat and prevent.
These things can also make the job of the dentist to be more difficult. Some people are reluctant to accept oral treatments. Some patients tend to be uncooperative, that’s why behavioral problems can be more difficult than the dental problem to treat. This is where caregivers need to somehow make his or her patient be more relaxed for receiving treatments and attention.
Other problems that cause some dental problems are neuromuscular diseases. Some people have rigid or loose chewing muscles that exacerbate some problems to swallow properly food. One solution to this is to use anesthesia.
As you can see, dental problems are challenging for disabled people, however, we should strive for solving them because this is a great way of improving the quality of their life.