Clinical Considerations for Treating the Dental Patient with ALS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system, particularly the motor neurons.
A Peer-Reviewed Publication
Written by Kimberly M. Parsons, MEd, CDA, EFDA, RDH and Amy J. Schneider, LDH, CDA, BS
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive degenerative disorder that affects the nervous system, particularly the motor neurons. It may affect either spinal or bulbar neurons, which classifies how an individual's symptoms present. The prognosis for individuals with ALS is not promising, usually resulting in death within three to five years of diagnosis. Most management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis focuses on palliative care, determined by the affected individual's ongoing symptoms. An essential component of palliative care is management of the individual's oral conditions. Manifestations of ALS may affect the dental practitioner's care of patients with this disease. These modifications will be dependent upon the individual's current symptoms and needs.
At the conclusion of this educational activity participants will be able to:
- Describe amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the manner(s) in which it may present
- Recognize common types of palliative care offered to individuals with ALS
- Describe the symptoms associated with spinal and bulbar degeneration
- Integrate appropriate modifications into the dental treatment of patients with ALS
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