Home - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content

Dental Health: The Basic Facts

Routine Dental Visits
During the regularly-scheduled check-ups, the dentist inspects your teeth, gums, tongue, and throat. A typical dental examination involves:

  • An oral cancer screening which includes examining your face, neck, lymph nodes, soft tissues, and jaw joints (“TMJ”s)
  • Looking for loose or broken teeth, or damaged fillings
  • Checking for gum disease


Elements of Good Care

Routine Dental Visits and
Common Dental Problems that May Be Identified

Dental care and MS symptoms


  • X-raying your teeth for signs of decay or damage
  • Inspecting your bite
  • Checking any dental appliances you might have (bridge, night guard, bite plate)
  • Cleaning (to remove plaque and tartar), polishing, and flossing your teeth
  • Reviewing brushing and flossing techniques
  • Scheduling any needed dental treatment [Note: There are no restrictions on the type of anesthesia that can be used for a person with MS during dental procedures; you and your dentist can choose whichever type of anesthesia is most comfortable for you.]

Common Dental Problems that May Be Identified
During the examination the dentist will look for:

  • Caries or tooth decay—also known as “cavities” because holes develop in the tooth enamel
  • Periodontal disease, which causes inflamed and infected gums
  • Bruxism, which occurs when a person clenches his or her jaws or “grinds” teeth, usually during the night
  • Malocclusion, when the upper and lower jaw do not close properly

Caries and periodontitis are infections, each of which can be made worse by bruxism and malocclusion.


  Copyright © National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2005