Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Dental Issues
One of the most common topics brought up lately has to do with dental complications and EDS. I compile information when responding to emails and often I think of sharing whatever I have put together, because I know that the information may be useful to many people, or others may be interested in learning something. Dental issues and EDS are common and incredibly complex. Below is what I compiled the other day on dental complications and EDS, as well as information on EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME, PERIODONTITIS TYPE/EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME, PERIODONTOSIS TYPE
(formally EDS VIII/EDS8).
It’s important to note that all types of EDS are associated with dental complications, but not everyone with EDS has dental issues. However, there are certain dental issues that seem more common than others across all EDS types, as well as there is also a specific type of EDS that is associated with an even higher risk for dental complications. For example, it is well-known that patients with EDS have trouble with local anesthetic and many have TMJ. On the other hand, there is also a type of EDS called Periodontal Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (formally type 8) that is associated with a specifically higher rate of dental complications, tissue fragility and tooth loss. Below is the information on both general dental complications associated with EDS and Periodontal Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome:
“When contemplating orthodontic treatment on a patient with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), there are a number of special precautions to be taken. Extreme joint hypermobility in many EDS patients often leads to chronic dislocation of the temporomandibular (jaw) joint. This makes the placement of complex orthodontic appliances very troublesome for the patient and the clinician. In addition, the oral surgeon must be extra cautious to prevent a dislocation of the mandibular condyles (lower jaw joint) when performing a surgical procedure in preparation for orthodontics. Because of tissue repair problems in EDS, there may be slow healing after dental extractions, followed by soft tissue scarring. The orthodontic appliance used on an EDS patient should be very smooth and relatively simple in design. The oral mucosa, or mouth lining tissues, are very fragile, liable to injury and particularly vulnerable to sharp objects such as orthodontic appliances (braces) or partial dentures.
The dental anatomy of the posterior teeth occasionally have high cusps and deep fissures. The roots may be dilacerated, (stunted, bent, fused or twisted in shape). The pulps may become partly obliterated by the pulp stones in the crown portions of the pulp, making root canal treatment difficult. The dentin may have an unusual pattern and abnormal fine structure because of an aberrant collagenous dental crown anatomy. Thus, there may be a right to left or upper dental arch to lower dental arch tooth size discrepancy (difference) making ideal dental interdigitation very difficult. Tooth movement might be expected to be more rapid for a constant appliance activation because of the collagen cross linkage defect. The mobility of teeth during tooth movement may be greater than normal. This may be caused by stretching, tearing and slow repair of the fibers. Similarly, the gingiva (gums) may be more prone to inflammation and possible recession. There have been reports of early onset of some periodontal defects (gum and tooth support). The old EDS type VIII, which is similar to the Classical type, in particular, is characterized by extreme periodontitis which can be quite debilitating. With the added dental mobility of the teeth, slowed repair processes and poor organization of tooth supporting tissue collagen, the need to wear retainers long after completion of the case may be greater. Although anatomic defects in the root morphology have been described in EDS, the detailed molecular composition of the dentin has not been studied. If changes do exist, root resorption as a side effect of orthodontics could be a problem. This has not been demonstrated clinically, however.
EDS is a connective tissue disorder which may have many effects on the dentition of the patient. With suitable understanding of the underlying disease manifestations and appropriate precautions by the orthodontist, orthodontic treatment can be accomplished with the minimal undesirable side effects.
– Hypermobile temporomandibular joint (TMJ); high incidence of subluxation
– Fragile oral mucosa
– Early onset of periodontal defects
– High cusps and deep fissures on the crowns of teeth
– High incidence of enamel and dental fractures
– Stunted roots or dilacerations
– Coronal pulp stones
– Aberrant dentinal tubules
– Pulpal vascular lesions and denticles
– Teeth move readily in response to orthodontic forces
– Orthodontic retention easier to accomplish”
The above information was taken from EDNF’s Dental considerations when treating patients with EDS. It is important to note also that individuals who can touch their tongue to their nose (The Gorlin Sign), do other tricks with your tongue and/or have an abnormally long tongue, should be screened for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. All 3 “tricks” are considered signs of hypermobility and can be easily noted by dentists and other oral surgeons.
Information presented above is not a complete compilation of all dental complications associated with EDS. I have provided additional resources below to help those who are interested in reading more.
– What is EDS? (List all types of known EDS, including Periodontal EDS)
– 2015 EDS UK’s presentation: The neuropathology of lax ligaments – the spine, neck and head in EDS
– EHLERS-DANLOS SYNDROME, TYPE VIII (2nd article)
EDS Awareness holds free webinars twice a month. Dr. Mitakides, EDNF Physician Advisory Board, has provided some very enlightening presentations on TMJ and EDS musculoskeletal headaches issues with EDS. The Q & A is also very helpful.