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James E. Mills, DDS & Associates

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1342 Farrow Pkwy
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By Market Common Dentistry
December 06, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
TakingCareofOralHealthCrucialtoQualityofLifeforHIVPositivePatients

In the early Eighties, dentists began noticing symptoms among a few patients that indicated something far more serious. They were, in fact, among the first healthcare providers to recognize what we now know as HIV-AIDS.

Today, about 1.2 million Americans have contracted the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It’s a retrovirus, somewhat different than other viruses: it can invade immune system cells and hijack their replication mechanism to reproduce itself. Untreated it eventually destroys these cells to give rise to the more serious, life-threatening disease Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Thanks to antiretroviral drugs, most HIV positive patients live somewhat normal lives and avoid the more serious Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). But while antiretroviral therapy effectively inhibits the action of the virus, it isn’t a cure — the virus is a permanent resident of the body and can still affect health, especially in the mouth.

In this regard, one of the more common conditions associated with HIV is Candidiasis, a fungal infection also known as thrush, which causes cracking of the mouth corners and lesions or white patches on the surface of the tongue or roof of the mouth. HIV patients may also experience limited saliva flow that causes dry mouth (xerostomia) with effects that range from bad breath to a higher risk of tooth decay.

The most serious effect, though, of HIV on oral health is the body’s lower resistance to fight periodontal (gum) disease. HIV patients are especially susceptible to a severe form known as Necrotizing Ulcerative Periodontitis (NUP), a sign as well of immune system deterioration and the beginning of AIDS. This painful condition causes gum ulcerations, extensive bleeding, and the rapid deterioration of gum attachment to teeth.

If you or a family member is HIV positive, you’ll need to pay close attention to oral health. Besides diligent brushing and flossing, you or they should also regularly visit the dentist. These visits not only provide diagnosis and treatment of dental problems, they’re also an important monitoring point for gauging the extent of the HIV infection.

Taking care of dental problems will also ease some of the discomfort associated with HIV. Thanks to proper oral care, you or someone you love can experience a higher quality of life.

If you would like more information on oral and dental health for patients with HIV, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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James E. Mills, DDS & associates

Read more about our Doctors

Dr. Robert V. Carimi

Dr. Robert V. Carimi is originally from Memphis, TN and has been practicing dentistry for 10 years. He earned his dental degree from the University of Tennessee, College of Dentistry. Prior to entering private practice, he completed advanced training in surgical techniques at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis, TN. Dr. Carimi also engages in ongoing continuing education, which allows him to provide patients with the latest advances in dentistry.

He enjoys blending the artistry and science of dentistry to change people’s lives. Dr. Carimi has been practicing in the Charleston area for the past 5 years. He and his wife, Brittney reside in Mt. Pleasant and have three daughters, Holland, Sutton and Macayle. They are active members at Christ Our King-Stella Maris School and St. Benedict Catholic Church. 
Dr. Carimi's hobbies include photography, relaxing at the beach with his family, engaging in outdoor activities and traveling. 

 

Dr. John P. Finucane

Dr. John P. Finucane, who is originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has been practicing dentistry for 44 years. He earned his dental degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee.  Aside from general dentistry, Dr. Finucane focusses on serving patients with removable dentures as he completed a three year residency program in that modality.  Dr. Finucane has been married for 42 years, and currently resides in Pawleys Island.  He has two adult sons, two grandchildren, two dogs, and two cats, and enjoys photography and music.

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