Illicit drug use can lead to a lot of oral health complications, but none of them are known to cause the extensive amount of dental problems as methamphetamine use. In fact, the term “meth mouth” was coined to describe the condition, because it is so unlike any other that a dentist will see in their profession.
Meth mouth typically represents itself as extensive tooth decay throughout the entire mouth. Nearly every tooth, and every surface of each tooth, is decayed or damaged in some fashion. Not only is the drug damaging, it can also cause people that take it to crave high amounts of sugary substances while they are on methamphetamine. As a result, severe amounts of tooth decay unlike any other occur on a very rapid and progressive scale.
Treating the oral health needs of people that have recovered or are battling methamphetamine use can be quite a challenge. Typically, full mouth rehabilitation is needed when meth mouth is involved. Different options include restoring teeth one-by-one with full coverage crowns and endodontic therapy, allowing patients to preserve their natural teeth. However, this can become costly and recurrent decay can occur around new restorations if habits or addictions cannot be avoided. A more dramatic, but effective approach is to remove all of the teeth involved and deliver a full coverage denture that is either removable or supported by dental implants. The decision is a personal one, and one that needs to be discussed with your dentist and your support system.
Your dental care is confidential, no matter what your history or health status is. Getting care for meth mouth for you or someone you love is one of the best things you can do for their health, their self-confidence, and the way people perceive them in social settings.
Posted on behalf of Dr. David Janash, Park South Dentistry
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