Identifying Pediatric Blood Disorders Through Dental Exams
If your child has a blood disorder, he or she will need a complete blood count, or CBC, to identify which blood component or components are abnormal. While blood tests and a physical examination by the physician are the most common ways pediatric blood disorders are identified, a dentist specializing in pediatric dentistry services may also have the ability to identify blood problems during dental examinations. Here are some symptoms your child's pediatric dentist may discover during a routine exam that may indicate the presence of a blood disorder:
Purple Dots In The Mouth
Certain blood disorders such as iron-deficiency anemia or thrombocytopenia can cause purple or red pinpoint dots inside your child's mouth. Thrombocytopenia, or a low platelet count, can cause bleeding under the skin, which can look like small dots.
The dots can occur on the gums, inner lining of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the throat, and underneath the tongue. These dots, known as petechiae, occur as a result of broken capillaries, and while trauma or injury can also cause them to develop, your dentist or physician will recommend that your child be medically evaluated to make sure that young patient does not have an underlying blood disorder.
If the pediatric dentist notices that your child's gums are very light pink or even grayish, he or she may suspect that the patient is anemic. In addition to gum pallor, anemia may cause your child's gums to bleed profusely, especially when undergoing a probing dental examination or tooth cleaning.
If an oral exam reveals signs of anemia, your child will be referred back to his or her pediatrician for further evaluation. Once the physician treats the anemia with iron supplements or through dietary measures, the gum tissue will regain its pink color and abnormal bleeding will decrease.
If you notice any abnormalities in your child's mouth such as tiny pinpoint dots or abnormally colored gums, make appointments with both the pediatric dentist and the pediatrician. Your dentist can help so that your child will be less likely to experience abnormal oral bleeding, and your pediatrician can help avoid other complications such as anemia-related fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath, or dizziness.
In addition to blood disorders, the dentist who provides pediatric dentistry services is also qualified to spot other signs of systemic diseases by examining the oral cavity. These diseases include diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and certain fungal infections.