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Telling your Dentist
Aug 13, 2000

Dear Dr.

I asked my primary care Dr. if I needed to disclose my HIV status to my DDS. My Dr. said yes. If I am going in for routine work, I cannot understand the value of this information. If on the other hand, I were to have some kind of surgery, I would of course discuss my status and medications I am taking. I would discuss this with the DDS because of how the surgery would effect me rather than how it might effect him. Please give me your unqualified input. Thank you, Randy

Response from Dr. Reznik

Why is it important to let your dentist know of your status?

My first argument for filling out your medical history accurately would be that dentistry is an integral part of primary care. Many of the initial signs and symptoms of disease progression are evident in the oral cavity. So even though you may be scheduled for a dental cleaning, the dentist should come in and do a complete examination of both the hard (teeth) and soft tissues of the mouth and check for any signs of change. Whereas this should happen for all dental patients, no matter if their serostatus is known or not, there are certain signs and symptoms that dental personnel should be able to recognize that would prove beneficial to your overall well-being. It is very important that dental health care workers have all information available in order to provide the optimum care. Another issue would be drug interactions. If you do not list medications that you are on (which would be the case if you did not divulge your medical status), the dentist may write a prescription for a medication that will have serious interactions with certain medications used to fight off HIV such as protease inhibitors.


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