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Orofacial manifestations of sickle cell disease: implications for dental clinicians

Abstract

Sickle cell disease is a multisystem disease associated with episodes of acute illness and progressive organ damage. It is one of the most common severe monogenic disorders worldwide and is now the fastest growing genetic disorder in the UK. Dental awareness of orofacial manifestation varies geographically due to the inheritance pattern and patient population affected by the disease. This article details the epidemiology, pathophysiology and the orofacial manifestations in light of current literature.

Key points

  • Sickle cell disease is a multisystem disease associated with episodes of acute illness and progressive organ damage.

  • It is the commonest inherited disorder in England affecting 1 in 2,000 births, with approximately 12,500 people living with the condition in the UK.

  • Patients may present with dental pain or altered facial sensation due to microvascular occlusion, leading to pulpitis, neuropathies and osteomyelitis.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Dr Niall O'Neill for his kind permission for the use of the radiographic images.

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Correspondence to Sandra Girgis.

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Girgis, S., Cheng, L., Tsitsikas, D. et al. Orofacial manifestations of sickle cell disease: implications for dental clinicians. Br Dent J 230, 143–147 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-021-2601-3

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