Rett syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that primarily affects young females. Most males with the disorder die during infancy. Believed to be caused by a genetic mutation, Rett syndrome usually appears between the ages of 6 to 18 months. Up to that point, the child develops normally, but then stops developing and begins to regress, losing fine motor skills and speech skills.
When the disease has fully developed, most individuals display repetitive hand and tongue movements, lack of motor control, and limited communication skills. Most patients suffer from frequent seizures, shaking, abnormal breathing, and the inability to control their movements.
Dental care for patients with Rett syndrome can be very difficult. Due to the patient’s inability to control their movements, frequent seizures, and breathing difficulties, traditional dental practices can be dangerous for these patients.
At the same time, it is very important for patients with Rett syndrome to maintain good oral health. Most Rett syndrome patients, especially adolescents, have difficulty eating and accordingly do not get sufficient nutrition. Poor oral health can make this problem even worse.
If you are a caregiver for a person with Rett syndrome, consider a consultation with a dentist who specializes in sleep and sedation dentistry. Dentists who practice in this specialty area have advanced training in administering moderate to full sedation and treating dental patients under sedation.
Sleep and sedation dentistry is a humane, safe, painless way for many hard to treat patients to receive the dental care they need including everything from cleanings to filling cavities and other dental procedures. In some cases, moderate conscious sedation is sufficient for the patient to comfortably tolerate the treatment in the dentist’s office. For other, the safest and most comfortable option is full sedation in a specially equipped hospital operating suite. Your dentist will determine an appropriate level of sedation depending on the needs of the patient.
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