Oral Health Strategies for Seizure Disorders

Information in this article was made available from a guide for parents and dental providers of children with special needs developed by the Oklahoma Dental Foundation in partnership with several funders. The entire guide is available for download at: Oral Health Care For Children With Special Health Care Needs.

The following is an excerpt from page 14 of the guide.

Seizures can occur as a result of several medical issues including developmental disabilities.
Seizures can occur spontaneously or as a result of stimuli, or triggers, such as certain sounds or
sudden movements. A pre-appointment interview will be needed to understand the child’s
seizure triggers if any. Being prepared to manage a seizure is the most important factor in
providing oral care for children with seizure disorders. Knowing that the dental staff understands
and is able to handle a seizure will go a long way toward building trust in the child and the
family member/caregiver.

Oral Effects
Gingival overgrowth (gingival hyperplasia)

Physical/Behavioral Concerns Strategies for Care

Seizure triggers

• Ensure anti-seizure medications are taken before
• Consult about seizure triggers before dental treatment
Medication induced gingival overgrowth • See section on medications that affect the teeth and gums
• Frequent dental visits and cleanings
• Twice daily home oral care

How to manage a seizure
• Attach dental floss to instruments before dental treatment begins so they could be quickly
removed if needed
• Remove instruments from the mouth and clear the area around the chair
• Do not insert any objects between the teeth during a seizure
• Stay with the child, turning him or her to one side and monitor their airway until the seizure passes
• Once passed, comfort the child and ensure they understand to the best of their ability that
they are ok and the treatment will go on or stop as determined beforehand