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Dental Work Not on Meds
Apr 2, 2010

I guess I should have asked this before having a tooth pulled, but here it is. I'm not on meds yet as my CD4 has stayed around 800 for 13 months and vl averaging 15k. I had a tooth pulled. My dentists knows my status. The next day, I started having what I think are allergies. I've never suffered with allergies before. I've had the watery and itchy eyes, itchy ears and throat, throat is all red and tonsils looks enlarged however my throat doesn't really hurt. I do get what I think are those mouth ulcers whenever I'm stressed. They are usually 1 or 2 really small and flush spots on throat. I know neg people get them, too. These come on with the cracked corners of my mouth when I'm stressed. I don't think it is a cold as I don't have a cough. It has just been my nose really stuffed up, then all runny, and stuffed up again. It feels like bad allergies. I did run a fever a couple nights which is not usually seen with allergies.

My doctor just told me I'm doing so great and could wait longer for my next appt. I always worry every little thing is going to kill me. Do you know whether having a tooth pulled could cause allergies? I realize it is Spring and I live in an area with bad allergies. However, I've never had them before. I've read not being on HIV meds keeps our immune systems all revved up and causes it to overreact to germs--allergens. I guess I'm wondering whether this is some sign about disease progression or I'm making too much of it? Are there issues with HIVers having dental work and not on HIV meds? I asked whether I should take an antibiotic due to HIV, but the dentist said it wasn't needed.

I know many of you believe every HIVer should be on meds unless there's a good reason not to be. I would take that to mean you guys believe HIV meds are not anymore toxic than meds for cholesterol for example that many have to take the rest of their lives.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

I don't associate getting a tooth extraction with flair of allergies (unless you were given a medication during the procedure that you're allergic to).

Allergies aren't a sign of disease progression (and though it's not unusual to be concerned, you might be making more of it than needed).

There are generally no significant issues with having dental work and being on HIV medications (though you said that you're not taking them), nor particular need (compared to HIV negatives) with getting antibiotics.

So there you have it. I'm not sure that I'd use the same analogy that you used about cholesterol medications, but HIV meds can be well tolerated and safe in the very large majority of patients who take them, especially for those who are starting meds in the current era.

Hope this helps, BY



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