Does Myasthenia Gravis Impact Dental Health?

At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry, we’ve observed a link between myasthenia gravis and dental health. Because it is a weakening condition, it can cause dental complications and make dental procedures more difficult to perform. If you suffer from myasthenia gravis, discuss your condition with your doctor as symptoms and their variants are highly individualized. 

What Is Myasthenia Gravis?

Myasthenia Gravis is an chronic autoimmune disease that is characterized by weakness and skeletal muscle fatigue. This neuromuscular disease targets the area where nerves meet muscle fibers known as the neuromuscular junction. The condition worsens after extended activity and improves after extended rest. 

People with myasthenia gravis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Weakness of the eye muscles
  • Drooping of one or both eyelids
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Changes in facial expression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Impaired speech
  • Weakness in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, and neck

Myasthenia Gravis and Dental Health

Facial and chewing muscle weakness are common at the onset of the disease, so dentists are typically the first professionals to recognize the signs. Certain medications and treatments can cause greater weakness and fatigue, exaggerating symptoms like difficulty closing the jaw, tongue fatigue, dry mouth, and more.

People with myasthenia gravis may not be able to handle dentures due to the lack of muscle structure. Dental implants are one of the most beneficial ways we can replace missing teeth for patients with myasthenia. Consulting your dentist prior to your appointment will allow us to avoid the complications involved with improperly fitted implants and dentures. 

Dental Complications from Myasthenia Gravis

The following areas of the mouth may be affected through weakening and lack of muscle strength:

Tongue

Atrophy of the tongue, loss of muscle and replacement with fat, may result in an altered appearance.

Mouth Drop 

Lack of muscle strength in the lower jaw muscle, especially following a sustained chewing effort, may cause the mouth to hang open.

Chewing and Swallowing

Lack of strength of the muscles of chewing strength can inhibit proper eating of food. Eating can be further inhibited by dysphagia, difficulty swallowing. 

Dental Treatment for Myasthenia Gravis

A person with myasthenia gravis might need their dental treatment to be altered according to their muscle strength. Weakness, respiratory difficulty, depression, and harmful drug interaction can be incited with certain medications. These drugs include novocaine, morphine, and NSAIDS among others. Consult your doctor before taking any medications or undergoing any dental procedures. 

Scheduling a dental consultation prior to getting implants or undergoing a procedure can help prevent complications from myasthenia gravis. Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry in Glendale always puts your needs and concerns as a patient above all else. If you have myasthenia gravis, we can help! Contact us to make an appointment today.

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