Oral Health in Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Neglected Topic

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Abstract

Psychiatric medications may have serious and untoward adverse effects such as blurred vision, restlessness, agranulocytosis, muscle rigidity, and tremors. When compared to medications, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is becoming a more acceptable treatment due to its efficacy, tolerability, and minimal adverse effect profile. Oral trauma can be an ECT-related adverse effect. We reviewed the published literature on oral health and dental protection in patients undergoing ECT, and found that there are deficits in all guidelines on dental protection during ECT. Dental assessment and treatment before and after ECT is warranted. Given the increased risk of poor oral health in psychiatric patients, and the continued evolution of ECT as a mainstay treatment, it is important that studies be conducted to determine the optimal method of oral protection. If adequate care can be ensured, the risks of ECT-induced oral trauma will be minimized.

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