Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes the muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. The neurological mechanism that makes muscles relax when they are not in use does not function properly. Opposing muscles often contract simultaneously as if they are competing for control of a body part. The involuntary muscle contractions force the body into repetitive and often twisting movements as well as awkward, irregular postures. There are approximately 13 forms of dystonia, and dozens of diseases and conditions include dystonia.
Dystonia may affect a single body area or be generalized throughout multiple muscle groups. Dystonia affects men, women, and children of all ages and backgrounds. Estimates suggest that no less than 300,000 people in North America are affected. Dystonia causes varying degrees of disability and pain, from mild to severe. There is presently no cure, but multiple treatment options exist and scientists around the world are actively pursuing research toward new therapies. Although there are multiple forms of dystonia and the symptoms of these forms may outwardly appear quite different, the element that all forms share is the repetitive muscle problems.
Dystonia is a chronic disorder, but the vast majority of dystonias do not impact cognition, intelligence, or shorten a person’s life span. The main exception to this is dystonia that occurs as symptom of another disease or condition that can cause such complications.
Treating dental patients with Dystonia can be particularly challenging. As one dentist in Marlton, NJ tells us “it is important that we be able to maintain proper dental care for all patients, including those with Dystonia. This is why the Dental Wellness carries the proper equipment and has the needed training to provide dental work, including general dental care and cosmetic dentistry to patients suffering from Dystonia. Whether a patient needs extensive dental work, a scheduled checkup, or a simple teeth whitening, a dentist should be prepared to care for a patient with dystonia”
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