Dentists’ awareness of sickle cell disease—the patients’ perspective

Introduction: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an autosomal recessive disorder of haemoglobins with known orofacial complications, namely jaw pain and lip numbness. Updated knowledge of SCD among dentists may improve their patients’ care. We therefore investigate dentists’ awareness of SCD from the patients’ perspective.

Methods: 495 patients with sickle cell disease were sent a postal questionnaire, a reminder and then interviewed by phone.

Results: 173 patients (male 67, female 106) completed our questionnaire. 38.2% had regular follow-up with their dentists and 59.5% claimed that their dentists were aware of their sickle cell status. 32.4% and 26.0% experienced jaw pain and orofacial sensory changes respectively during sickle cell crises. 40.5% considered the causes to be dental in origin. Of those who sought treatment from their dentists, 20.0% reported to have been managed appropriately by their dentists. 66.9% believed that their dentists lack general knowledge about SCD. 75.7% of the patients who experienced any orofacial manifestations during crises believed in the lack in their dentist’s knowledge when compared to 60.2% of patients without oral manifestation (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.00428). 73.3% of the patients who received dental treatment for orofacial signs of SCD considered that the lack of SCD knowledge among their dentists.

Conclusion: 80% of our SCD patients with orofacial manifestatins felt that they were not managed appropriately by their dentists. More than two-thirds of patients felt that their dentists were generally lacking of awareness of SCD. Such perception occurred more commonly among those SCD patients with orofacial manifestations.

Conflict of interest: None declared.

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Feb 5, 2018 | Posted by in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery | Comments Off on Dentists’ awareness of sickle cell disease—the patients’ perspective
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