Your Dentist and Tickborne Diseases

June 23rd, 2017 by Grandville Dental Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tickborne diseases are on the rise and prevention should be on everyone’s minds during the summer. Even your Dentist!

“From May through July, people will get more tick bites and tickborne diseases than any other time of year in the United States,” according to the CDC website. “Each year, more than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported nationwide, while studies suggest the actual number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is more likely about 300,000.”

Infected ticks can spread Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and/or Alpha-Gal Syndrome (a deadly allergy to red meat) through its bite.

So what’s this have to do with your dentist?

Dentists can help detect possible cases of Lyme disease, which may present, in a patient, as nonspecific orofacial pain and headaches, especially if the patient has no specific oral health problem.

Several years back a doctor in Mississippi spoke about a patient who came in for routine cleaning and described recent swelling of her arms and legs along with soreness in her neck and an accompanying rash. He referred her for appropriate testing and she was subsequently diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Several dental university studies have been published citing that clinical manifestations of lyme disease may include facial and dental pain, facial nerve palsy, headache, temporomandibular joint pain and chewing muscle pain.

Admittedly, not every toothache is lyme disease, sometimes its just a toothache, but the lesson here is IF you’re out-doorsy, ARE seeing your dentist twice a year for cleaning as you should, AND you have been having other aches and pains, especially around the head and neck, mention them to your dentist.