Depending on the severity of post-operative problems following AN treatment, there can be various problems associated with the mouth, either as a result of facial paralysis, or involvement of other nerves.
Following AN treatment, we are at greater risk various dental problems. Therefore, it is important to try and prevent their occurrances. We are all too familiar with problems of accidently biting the cheek &/or lips as well as difficulty with eating & drinking. This section, however, will deal with problems to the teeth & gums as a result of AN treatment.
Due to reduced movement of the cheek and lip, food often collects in the fold between the cheek and teeth on the affected side. If there is also reduced sensitivity in the cheek on the affected side, you may not even be aware that there is food in this area. Unfortunately, this food, together with the bacteria in the mouth, can increase the frequency of dental caries (cavities) & periodontal (gum) disease.
As a result of AN surgery, there may also be a reduction in saliva production. This causes dry mouth as well as bad breath. This reduction in saliva can also increase both dental caries & periodontal disease. For people with a severe reduction in saliva, there exist special mouthwashes & artificial salivas... ask your dentist.
Bacteria are always present in the mouth. Their byproducts cause dental caries & gum problems. These gum problems, occasionally manifested by bleeding gums, slowly & irreversibly destroy the bone holding your teeth (Note: More teeth are lost to periodontal disease than to dental caries).
To prevent this, the bacterial placque should be removed AT LEAST once every 24 hours. If the bacterial placque is not properly removed, it becomes calcified, due to the minerals present in saliva- this is the hard material the dental hygenist scrapes off your teeth (If you have calculus build-up on some of your teeth, ask your hygenist to show you proper brushing & flossing techniques).
Why floss? Brushing removes the bacterial placque from the cheek & tongue sides of your teeth, however the bristles cannot clean between teeth. Only floss can do this.
Do you have to floss all your teeth? No... only the ones you want to keep!
As a result of the problems of eating (biting cheek, lip, or tongue), as well as food collecting in the cheek fold, many people unconsciously chew on their good site. However, this can result in other problems: The increased, repeated chewing trauma from the result of 1-sided eating, teeth that have many fillings can actually crack over time, obviously requiring further dental treatments (caps & possibly root-canal treatments).
As well, 1 sided chewing can possibly induce TMJ (temperol-mandibular joint) problems, which can cause headaches and other head pain. This can also occur as a result of grinding of the teeth. Your dentist can offer mouthguards and/or other treatments for this.
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