Introduction: Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an autosomal recessive haemoglobinopathy. Although orofacial complications among SCD patients have been reported, their prevalence remains undefined. We therefore investigate the prevalence of jaw pain and lip numbness among SCD patients.
Methods: 495 patients with SCD were sent a questionnaire followed by a reminder. Those non-respondents were contacted by telephone.
Results: 173 (34.9%) completed our questionnaire with female to male ratio of 3:2, mean age of 36 years (3–76) and standard deviation of 15.4 years. The frequency of their attack varied widely from more than once a week to less than once every 6 months.
56 (32.4%) experienced facial or jaw pain. Of the 45 (26.0%) respondents who experienced sensory deficits to their lips, tongues or chins during a sickle cell crisis, 15% claimed to be permanent. Those patients who experienced jaw pain were more likely to have experienced sensory changes (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.0001). There was significant difference in the prevalence of jaw pain between the group with “crisis occurred once or more a month” and “crisis occurred less than once a month” (Fisher’s exact test p = 0.0006) while sensory deficits were not statistically significant between the two groups ( p = 0.368).
Conclusion: In our survey, jaw pain and perioral sensory deficits affected over 40% of SCD patients. Perioral sensory changes were more common in those who experienced jaw pain. The jaw pain was more prevalent in those with frequent sickle cell crisis.
Conflict of interest: None declared.