Two tips for epileptics that require dental treatment

Posted on: 9 November 2019


If you suffer from epilepsy and need dental treatment, you should keep these two tips in mind.

Avoid trying out a new type of anti-epileptic medication shortly before going to the dental clinic

Many anti-epileptic medications can have unpleasant side effects. If the one you are taking at the moment is effective at controlling your seizures but is causing side effects that you can no longer cope with, then you might be mulling over the idea of trying out a different type of anti-epileptic medication, that is said to have fewer or more tolerable side-effects. However, if your dentist is going to be performing dental work on your teeth at the dental clinic soon, then you should not change your medication until after you have had this treatment. The reason for this is as follows; you won't be able to tell if this new medication will be as effective at controlling your seizures as the one that you are currently prescribed until you start taking the new one.

As such, if you start testing out this new medication just before you need to attend your chosen dental clinic and it turns out that it is not effective at controlling your condition, you may suffer a seizure whilst you're inside the clinic and being treated by one of the dentists.

This could result in both you and your dentist being injured. For example, if whilst the dentist is in the midst of scraping the tartar off your teeth with a sharp instrument, the seizure causes your head to suddenly lurch from side to side, the instrument could lacerate your mouth. Furthermore, if this seizure results in your teeth unexpectedly clamping shut whilst the dentist has their hand in between them, you could accidentally bite and injure their hand. Given this, it is not a good idea to experiment with new antiepileptic medications just before you're about to visit a dental clinic.

Ensure that the dental clinic puts a note on your records that states that you have epilepsy

If the dental clinic that you normally go to is quite large and there are many dentists working in it, then it's sensible to ask the clinic's secretary to put a note on your records that explains that you have epilepsy. The reason for this is as follows; having epilepsy can affect your dental health. In addition to potentially complicating the process of having dental treatments (as explained above), you may be at higher risk of oral injuries (as you may fall and damage your teeth during your seizures) and may be susceptible to issues like gingival overgrowth (as some epilepsy medications cause this oral condition).

If you usually end up seeing a different dentist every time you visit this clinic and your records do not state that you suffer from epilepsy, you may have to tell each of these dentists about this health problem and describe the ways in which it affects your dental health. This could become tedious and frustrating very quickly (especially if you visit the clinic a lot). By ensuring that this information is on your records, you can avoid having to have this conversation over and over again.

Reach out to a dental clinic near you to learn more.