I was recently diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and was told by my medical doctor that I should inform my dentist of my condition because it can pose dental problems. Can you tell me what dental concerns I need to be aware about?
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is a disorder that affects the fibrous protein collagen in our bodies. This protein offers strength and elasticity to the connective tissues like the skin, bone, ligaments, cartilage and so on. Connective tissues must have collagen to help in their function and purpose within the body.
This disorder can threaten our dental health in several ways.
- Periodontal disease is the most major oral manifestation of this syndrome which can lead to early loss of teeth. Patients diagnosed with periodontal disease and EDS usually have attachment loss, mobility of the teeth, and resorption of the roots which enhance the probability of tooth loss. The gingival tissues are very fragile and bleeding can be difficult to control during dental surgeries.
- Hypoplasia of the enamel is often noted. This is a condition where the enamel does not form properly and is weak in nature. The teeth can also be present with deep groves, pulp stones, and the roots shortened.
- The lining of our mouths known as the mucosa is very fragile and can tear easily especially when touched by instruments, having orthodontic treatment, eating hard foods, and even brushing aggressively. If stitches are ever needed after a dental surgery they usually don’t hold up because the mucosa is so delicate.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) may be present due to the fact that the collagen did not form properly causing movement of the discs and looseness of the ligaments within the jaw joint. This can cause clicking, popping, and pain.
Here is some advice in helping you maintain your oral health
- Let your dentist and dental hygienist know of your condition. We recommend you get your teeth cleaned every three months, however make sure they limit the use of the ultrasonic scaler and tell them to be gentle.
- If going through braces, it’s important to go through orthodontics at a slow pace and with caution because movement of the teeth can cause more root resorption and the periodontal ligaments and oral mucosa are very fragile
- Make sure you are meticulous with your dental hygiene however use an ultra-soft toothbrush and be gentle. Brush your teeth a few times a day and floss daily.
- Vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen synthesis and increases wound healing. This can be found in a supplement form, fruits, or vegetables.
Post courtesy of Dr. Perry, Baton Rouge Dentist.