Written By Dr. Kyle Griffith
It's weird how things pop up in life. It sometimes seems like things are clustered together. At any rate, a series of unfortunate events led to me writing this specific blog.
My mom just recently texted me to say that my uncle was very sick. Family members did not know exactly what was wrong with him but that he was having trouble breathing. A final diagnosis of sarcoidosis was found to be the culprit. What I could remember is that sarcoidosis is a granulomatous disease that commonly manifests itself in the lungs.
Basically, sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disease in which a patient's immune system goes haywire and forms large clusters of immune cells within almost any organ of the body.
Literally, two days later in the office, a patient presented with a recent diagnosis of sarcoidosis. She asked me if I knew what it was, and thankfully I was able to reply in the affirmative. After a comprehensive evaluation of the patient, it was found that there was an isolated area of concern around one of her teeth with regards to the bone and soft tissue. The question was: Can sarcoidosis affect the bone around the teeth?
These are the common findings that a dentist may find associated with sarcoidosis:
1) Reddish lesions on the face, nose, lips, or ears
2) Salivary gland enlargement
3) Dry mouth
4) Isolated lumps or bumps inside the mouth
5) An ill-defined radiolucency on an x-ray
Was the patient's area of dental concern caused or related to sarcoidosis? I don't think so. Could oral lesions be the only clinical sign of sarcoidosis? Yes, in fact in retrospect, the patient verified that the initial presenting sign had been an oral lesion.
The good news is that both my patient and uncle seem to be stabilizing.
This is just another example as to why a comprehensive oral examination is key to maintaining overall health. If you have any questions about sarcoidosis or are concerned about a suspicious lesion of the head or neck, please do not hesitate to contact 58 Dental. We are here to help.
Kyle Griffith DMD
7090 E. Hampden Ave.
Denver, CO. 80224