If you have a connective tissue disease (or suspect that you might), such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) or osteogenesis imperfecta, you likely have dental problems. Without collagen—the glue that holds our cells together—gums can be fragile and teeth can be malformed or missing. Due to these types of dental problems, some people with connective tissue disorders seek out cosmetic dental treatments.
Unfortunately, connective tissue disorders can cause problems when getting dental treatment, or any surgery for that matter. The good news is that there are several precautions that dentists and oral surgeons can take to minimize the risks. Here is what you need to know.
Unable to Get Numb
Some people who have connective tissue disease find that they cannot get numb when given some types of anesthesia. In addition to being a connective tissue disorder, EDS is also a variant of hypermobility syndrome. Research also shows that as many as half of patients with a hypermobility syndrome have pain perception that is enhanced.
It is clear that patients need to discuss their medical history with their dentist and/or oral surgeon prior to going under anesthesia. That way, the team can come up with an appropriate anesthetic to use. It is also a good idea to come up with some sort of hand signal that you can use during dental treatment to inform your dentist or oral surgeon that you are experiencing pain.
Due to the lack of collagen in the tissues, patients with connective tissue diseases can bleed excessively, even from the slightest trauma. Instead, the patient will need to choose their cosmetic dental treatments carefully with the assistance of a dental professional who is well-versed in rare diseases such as ones that affect connective tissue.
Also, orthodontic devices such as braces typically do not work well for people who have some forms of connective tissue diseases since these devices can be abrasive to the tissue in the mouth. Since braces and other forms of orthodontic treatments are not as effective, other forms of cosmetic dentistry may be more viable options, such as dental veneers and crowns. This is due to the simple fact that these types of treatments do not involve the gums.
Regular Sutures May Not Hold
Sutures, if needed, must be placed in the gum tissue with great care when a patient has a connective tissue disorder. Without enough collagen in the cells, sutures can rip right through gum and skin. Another thing to consider is that, since your gum tissue likely does not interact with anesthesia, your gums may not swell, which can also affect how well the sutures stay in place.
If you've experienced problems in the past during a medical or dental treatment that involve sutures or you had a severe cut that needed stitches due to an injury, you may already have an idea of how well, or not, sutures tend to hold in your body. If not, don't take any unnecessary chances. Choose the least invasive alternative for your cosmetic dental treatment, such as a dental bridge as opposed to a dental implant if you are missing a tooth.
If you do choose a treatment in which you'll have sutures, it's important that the sutures are protected so you are able to eat and drink. Your dentist can mold a clear acrylic plate to wear over top of the sutured area so the sutures and the wound will be protected while you eat and drink. However, this plate should not be worn constantly due to the fragility of the gum tissue in people who have a connective tissue disease.
Visit a site like http://tlcdentalohio.com to connect with a local dentist and find out what they can do to help with your dental needs in relation to your condition.