If you are the guardian of an adult with Down syndrome who is having dental pain, it is important that you are aware of the commonality of several abnormalities in the teeth and oral cavity of those with Down syndrome. It's also important to schedule dental care examinations and treatments with a dentist who specializes in sedation dentistry. Here's what you need to know about oral hygiene and dental treatments as the guardian of someone with Down syndrome.
According to research, 92% of people with Down syndrome in one study had malocclusion. Malocclusion is when teeth are misaligned, which can cause difficulty with chewing. Many with malocclusion often breathe through their mouth due to the discomfort they feel when closing their jaws. Malocclusion in Down syndrome typically occurs due to the smaller-than-typical upper jaw which results in the teeth crowding and the teeth being unable to align properly when the jaws are closed.
Prevention: To prevent malocclusion, orthodontic devices are typically used. For people with Down syndrome, applying orthodontic devices (braces, in particular) is often done under sedation dentistry.
Treatment: Since the individual in your care is an adult and he or she is already experiencing dental pain, sedation dentistry is necessary so a thorough examination can be done and a treatment plan can be developed. Depending on the severity of the malocclusion, treatment may involve orthognathic surgery, which is a surgery that aligns the upper and lower jaws.
Teeth crowding can cause the back molars and wisdom teeth to become severely impacted. The impaction of these teeth can lead to horrendous pain in the jaw and cause severe anxiety and frustration.
Prevention: The use of orthodontic devices very early in age can help prevent the risk of impacted teeth later in life. To prevent impacted teeth from causing significant pain, routine dental checkups are important during their childhood and adolescents. By having routine dental checkups complete with dental x-rays, dentists can foresee the problem of impacted teeth before the condition causes significant pain, at which point they can have the problematic teeth removed.
Treatment: Treatment for impacted teeth due to severe crowding will need to be done by a dentist who specializes in sedation dentistry, especially for those who are experiencing dental pain and discomfort due to the impacted teeth. Impacted teeth will need to be removed while the person is sedated for their ease and comfort.
For more information on sedation dentistry, contact a professional near you.