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If your teenager has received orthodontic services, then you probably know how important it is to maintain the integrity of the appliances while maintaining meticulous oral hygiene. If, however, your teen has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder, brushing and flossing while wearing braces may be a challenge. Anti-seizure medications can lead to serious side effects, including those affecting the teeth and gums. Here are three ways anti-seizure medications can complicate orthodontic therapy, and what you can do about them:
Overgrown Gum Tissue
Certain anti-seizure drugs can lead to an oral condition known as gingival hyperplasia. When this occurs, the gums become severely overgrown, and can even grow over the top of the teeth and between tooth spaces.
Because of this, your teen may not be able to brush and floss his or her teeth effectively enough to remove infection-causing bacteria from under the gum line and in-between the teeth. To help augment your child's oral hygiene routine, ask the dentist to recommend an anti-microbial mouthwash to help eliminate germs, while reducing the risk for gingivitis.
Anti-seizure medications may also make the gums more prone to bleeding. When your teenager experiences bleeding gums, he or she may be hesitant to brush and floss for fear of further bleeding. Remind your child that brushing and flossing can help toughen gum tissue so that they are not as likely to bleed when performing oral care.
Special oral rinses can help keep oral bacterial counts to a minimum, however, make sure the products do not contain alcohol because it can dry out gingival tissue, further raising the risk for bleeding. Also, if your child takes certain anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or aspirin, bleeding may be more pronounced, as these medications can decrease platelet aggregation.
Gum pain and sensitivity can also develop in response to anti-seizure medications. This may be especially troublesome for your teenager after orthodontic appointments when the braces are tightened. Prior to having the appliances tightened, talk to the orthodontist about giving your child an over-the-counter pain reliever before the appointment.
When given a couple of hours before treatment, your teen will be more comfortable during the tightening process, and for a few hours afterwards. Also, the patient will be more likely to engage in brushing and flossing when he or she is not in pain. Swishing the mouth out with warm water and salt will also help ease pain, while helping to clear the oral cavity from bacteria.
If your teenager has a seizure disorder and takes medications, work with both the dentist and physician to develop a treatment plan that will help keep your child comfortable and healthy while wearing braces.
Contact a business such as Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics for more information.