Meth mouth is a condition that is caused due to the abuse of methamphetamine. Read on to know about the symptoms of this condition and a few treatment options.
Crystal methamphetamine addiction is a type of abuse of the psychostimulant drug methamphetamine that results in an increase in the alertness and energy levels. When an overdose of this drug is taken, it can also lead to euphoria, increased self-esteem, and an increase in sexual pleasure. This drug is used for treating ADHD and exogenous obesity. However, it is commonly abused and leads to many long-term side effects, one of them being meth mouth.
There are various symptoms of meth mouth. These include extensive and progressive tooth decay, which starts from the gingival border of the tooth and gnaws its way towards the pulp. These are typically known as meth teeth. Along with tooth decay, the person also suffers from ulcerative gingivitis and dry mouth. The tooth decay may progress at such a fast rate that it may lead to tooth abscesses.
Treatment for Meth Mouth
► Kick the Habit
The first and most important step that is a part of the treatment is to stop taking the drug. Unless and until the person stops taking the drug, there is no hope for any kind of improvement in the condition. This is because while the person is still on this drug, dental health is the last thing on his/her mind. Thus, any kind of treatment meted out, while the person is still actively taking this drug, will lead to failure of the treatment. Thus, the first step of treatment is complete cessation of drug intake.
► Tooth Fillings
If the decay that is present is still in its initial stage, then it may be possible to restore the tooth by just filling it. Since most of the lesions are on the facial surface of the tooth, an aesthetic filling needs to be done. However, most cases that are reported to the dentist have such bad oral hygiene, that in most cases, the teeth require root canal treatment along with treatment for tooth abscess.
► Treating ANUG
ANUG is an acronym for acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. This is a periodontal disease that is seen in relation with meth teeth. Here, there is bone loss along with ulceration on the surface of the gingiva. Thus, the treatment for ANUG mostly aims at preventing any further damage to the gingiva or bone loss in the teeth. Thus, for this, along with the maintenance of proper oral hygiene, the person will have to get subgingival cleaning done to remove any anaerobic pathogens that may be present in the gingiva.
► Treating Dry Mouth
Treating dry mouth is also important when dealing with meth mouth and teeth. This is because one of the effects of meth mouth is dryness of the mouth. This can be quite severe and could further cause caries and tooth decay. Thus, in such cases, one needs to stop taking the drug after which there will be some kind of an improvement. However, as a part of dry mouth treatment, one can try out artificial saliva or drugs that induce the secretion of saliva.
► General Preventive Measures
The patient needs to follow certain guidelines while undergoing meth mouth treatment. These include proper maintenance of oral hygiene along with timely follow-up of appointments. Regularly brushing of teeth, needless to say, is a must. Furthermore, the dentist may advise the use of certain mouthwashes or mouth rinses that will help in the faster healing of gingiva and other supporting structures.
Although the task before the dentist and patient is a daunting one, with a little bit of conviction and determination, one can observe significant improvement in cases of meth mouth.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.