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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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Receding Gums
Oct 11, 2005

I'm 51 and have had HIV since 1983, AIDS since 1994. CD4 currently 330,8%/VL,90,000. I went to a dentist recently and he said I needed gum treatments at a cost of over $3000. I have a severe overbite with a receding jaw alignment. A dentist told me in 1976 that if I didn't have surgery to correct the alignment I would most likely experience gum problems in middle age. I never followed up with corrective surgery due to non coverage by insurance. I have heard that gum treatments on long term HIV patients do not hold up for the long term. Is there any truth to this? Will my receding jaw add to this potential failure? I have been on long term disability 10 years and my finances are limited. I am willing to pay for gum treatments but I'm concerned the process will be ongoing and destroy me financially. Scott - Palm Springs,CA

Response from Dr. Henry

In most cases well nourished HIV+ persons getting reasonable medical care do well with a wide range of surgical procedures including oral/gum surgery. I have not seen data that suggest that HIV+ persons do poorly after gum/dental procedures when they otherwise are getting good medical care. My own patients have generally done well with dental procedures as well. Good nutrition and oral hygiene and stopping smoking are also important factors over the long term as is optimal treatment of HIV. KH

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