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Taking Care of Oral Health Crucial to Quality of Life for HIV Positive Patients

TakingCareofOralHealthCrucialtoQualityofLifeforHIVPositivePatients

In the early Eighties, dentists began noticing symptoms among a few patients that indicated something far more serious. They were, in fact, among the first healthcare providers to recognize what we now know as HIV-AIDS.

Today, about 1.2 million Americans have contracted the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It’s a retrovirus, somewhat different than other viruses: it can invade immune system cells and hijack their replication mechanism to reproduce itself. Untreated it eventually destroys these cells to give rise to the more serious, life-threatening disease Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Thanks to antiretroviral drugs, most HIV positive patients live somewhat normal lives and avoid the more serious Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). But while antiretroviral therapy effectively inhibits the action of the virus, it isn’t a cure — the virus is a permanent resident of the body and can still affect health, especially in the mouth.

In this regard, one of the more common conditions associated with HIV is Candidiasis, a fungal infection also known as thrush, which causes cracking of the mouth corners and lesions or white patches on the surface of the tongue or roof of the mouth. HIV patients may also experience limited saliva flow that causes dry mouth (xerostomia) with effects that range from bad breath to a higher risk of tooth decay.

The most serious effect, though, of HIV on oral health is the body’s lower resistance to fight periodontal (gum) disease. HIV patients are especially susceptible to a severe form known as Necrotizing Ulcerative Periodontitis (NUP), a sign as well of immune system deterioration and the beginning of AIDS. This painful condition causes gum ulcerations, extensive bleeding, and the rapid deterioration of gum attachment to teeth.

If you or a family member is HIV positive, you’ll need to pay close attention to oral health. Besides diligent brushing and flossing, you or they should also regularly visit the dentist. These visits not only provide diagnosis and treatment of dental problems, they’re also an important monitoring point for gauging the extent of the HIV infection.

Taking care of dental problems will also ease some of the discomfort associated with HIV. Thanks to proper oral care, you or someone you love can experience a higher quality of life.

If you would like more information on oral and dental health for patients with HIV, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "Dr. Katz is attentive to his patients' needs, always careful to ensure the patient's comfort...It's a friendly office with impeccable service. They will take good care of you!
    Over the years, Dr. Katz and his team have provided me with an extremely high level of care and personal sensitivity. He has earned my trust."
    Jim Velleco - Marblehead, MA
  • "I have had a lot of dental work done during my life--orthodontia, fillings, crowns, implants, root canals, a bridge--and Dr. Katz is by far the best dentist I've ever seen. In addition to being a superior craftsman with a lot of experience, Dr. Katz is attentive to his patients' needs, always careful to ensure the patient's comfort. His staff, several of whom have been working with him for decades, is likewise excellent. It's a friendly office with impeccable service. They will take good care of you!"
    Sandra Doherty
  • "Awesome Doctor and team - have been going to Dr. Katz's practice for over 20 years and the professionalism, care and attention are superb. They are warm, welcoming, caring and a pleasure to go to. Highly recommend them - with a warm smile!!!
    The professionalism, care and attention are superb. They are warm, welcoming, caring and a pleasure to go to."
    Paul Romano
  • "I travel from Woburn to Salem for my dental needs because there is no other dentist that I trust more than Dr. Katz. I am impressed with his professionalism and drive to stay on top of the best dental techniques. He and his team treat my wife and me like family. I highly recommend Dr. Katz!
    There is no other dentist that I trust more than Dr. Katz. I am impressed with his professionalism and drive to stay on top of the best dental techniques. He and his team treat my wife and me like family."
    Rob Dealy
  • "It’s not “Cheers” and they don’t serve beer, but it is a place “where everybody knows your name.” They know your family, too. And you know theirs. After 25 years here, for me it’s not just about having clean teeth. It’s about catching up with old friends, sharing what’s going on and caring about each other."
    Eugenia Fountain - Salem, ma
  • "They are thorough, careful and up to date on new techniques. One never feels like a "number" because there is very little staff turnover...We recommend them without hesitation.
    If you're looking for top-notch customer service, a welcoming staff, and valuable take-home knowledge, make an appointment with Dr. Katz. My mouth and I have had nothing but positive experiences in his care."
    Mike **Briddon** - Swampscott, MA
  • "Dr. Katz makes me feel like I'm the most important patient he has. He is calm, relaxed, informative, patient and gentle...I have heard nothing but positive feedback from the people I've sent
    Thank you for over 20 years of compassionate and technically excellent dental care."
    Christine Kowal - Swampscott, MA
  • "We come from Wakefield to see Dr. Katz. He has been our family dentist for the last 10 years and my husbands dentist since he was a kid. Today my very anxious 7 year old had to have a tooth pulled and Dr. Katz did a wonderful job at making him comfortable. My son got through the experience with flying colors and no tantrums. We would highly recommend him as a dentist!"
    Nicole Jennings
  • "My husband and I are long term patients of this practice because of the trust it has earned with us over time. They are thorough, careful and up to date on new techniques. One never feels like a "number" because there is very little staff turnover .....clearly a plus. We recommend them without hesitation!"
    Michelle Genereux

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