Lupus Erythematosus and your oral health
How will lupus erythematosus affect your dental treatment?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. This means that it is a disease that can affect multiple organs. Some of the organs affected may include the mouth. Several studies show that more than half of lupus patients get sores on heir lips, sores in the insides of their cheeks, and sores on their palate. Several lupus patients also experience soreness in their mouths and a significant decrease in the production of saliva. People with lupus usually have dry mouth or xerostomia. A lot of lupus patients take medicines that can cause dry mouth. If you have xerostomia or dry mouth then you are at a greater risk of getting tooth decay, yeast infections, and fungal infections. With little saliva in your mouth, there will be less fluid to wash away the sugars, food particles, bacteria, and acids that cause cavities and decay.
Since lupus affects your entire body, special attention from your dentist is mandatory. People with lupus have low platelet counts and this will increase the likelihood of severe bleeding during surgery. People with lupus may also have heart murmurs that are due to trouble with their heart valves. If you have a heart infection like endocarditis or if you have an artificial heart valve then you should take antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Moreover, your dentist may have to talk to your doctor before performing dental treatment on you.
Steroids are used to treat lupus and if you have been taking steroids for a long time already, you may need an extra dose prior to going through dental treatment. Adrenal glands make hormones that help you respond to stressful situations. If you have been taking steroids for quite awhile then these adrenal glands may not work as well. When you body is not able to handle stress so well then this may lead to severe problems.
Medications for lupus are known to suppress the immune system so you should take antibiotics before and after a dental treatment. You may not have enough blood cells to fight off an infection since the drugs used for lupus can affect your blood count. You should provide your dentist with a copy of your latest blood test before you go through any dental treatment. You should provide your dentist with a list of medications you take and their corresponding dosages. You should let your dentist know about any allergies or sensitivities you may have as well.