A case report that was published on Dentistry Today found that children with large gums were an indicator for several types of Leukemia (AML).
Occasionally as a dentist, it can be hard to properly detect an individual’s medical issue based on what is simply taking place inside of their mouths. When looking for a medical diagnosis for an oral issue, it is important that every dentist look into their patients medical and family history, as well as think outside of the norm to determine the right diagnosis.
What exactly is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a type of blood-associated cancer, usually found in children, affecting the formation of white blood cells which impact the body’s capability to eliminate infections. Leukemia lowers the person’s regular blood cell count and increases the formation of leukemic blood cells. According to the report on Dentistry Today, dental professionals are responsible for the initiation of the diagnosis of 25% of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia and 33% of myelomonocytic leukemia afflicted patients.
What is gum-related leukemia?
A gum tissue associated diagnoses of leukemia is characterized by abnormally massive gum tissues that continue to enlarge, in severe instances, covering the crowns of a person’s teeth. The gums are typically purple or pale red in color. Hemorrhaging and also gingivitis can additionally be seen in cases of leukemia related to the gums like acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and its sub-type acute myelomonocytic leukemia. Ulcerations and hemorrhaging are usually much more common in these forms of leukemia than in chronic leukemia.
What can be done to stop it?
Chemotherapy is still considered the most effective means for dealing with leukemia. Patients with enlarged gums as an outcome of AML and AML’s subtypes found a decrease in gum size as a result of chemo. Getting bone marrow transplants and blood transfusions have also been known to help treat leukemia.
Larger than normal gums does not immediately mean your child has leukemia, however.
Enlarged gums could be the result of gingivitis such as puberty-based gingivitis and menstruation cycle-associated gingivitis, and other illnesses like Crohn’s illness, lymphoma, ascorbic acid deficiency, neurofibromatosis, and more.
If you feel your child has very unusually big gums, give Dr. Levine, Dr. Bers, or your doctor a call so a medical evaluation can be performed.