Ways Your Family Dentist Can Detect Blood Platelet Disorders

When you visit your family dentist, you can be certain that they will examine your oral cavity for gum disease, cavities, and acid erosion problems. What you may not know is that your dentist may also be on the lookout for systemic disorders that can cause unusual signs and symptoms inside your mouth. Here are some manifestations of a blood platelet disorder your family dentist may discover during your examination. 

Heavy Bleeding During Dental Procedures

During dental examinations and teeth cleanings, your dentist and hygienist use sharp dental instruments to probe the gum tissue and scrape off hardened plaque from the surfaces of your teeth, in between your teeth, and under your gum line.

While minimal bleeding is expected during probing dental examinations and cleanings, excessive bleeding that is difficult to control may be indicative of a blood platelet disorder such as thrombocytopenia. This blood platelet disorder refers to an abnormally low platelet count and when platelets get too low, it may take the blood longer to clot, and subsequently may cause abnormal bleeding during dental procedures. While extensive periodontal disease can cause heavy oral bleeding during dental examinations and cleanings, other causes such as platelet disorders need to be ruled out.

Oral Mucosal Petechiae

Another sign that might alert your family dentist to a blood platelet disorder is the presence of oral mucosal petechiae, which are tiny round pinpoint spots inside the mouth. Petechiae are typically purple, red, or brown, and may appear on the inner lining of your cheeks, under your tongue, and on your gums. They are very common, and while they may be a benign finding, they may also indicate clotting or blood platelet disorders. 

If your dental examination reveals oral mucosal petechiae, your family dentist may ask you if you take prescription anticoagulants or aspirin. These medications can decrease blood platelet aggregation, which can cause abnormal bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and petechiae inside the mouth or on your skin. Petechiae inside your mouth may also prompt your dentist to recommend that you make an appointment with your primary care physician for further evaluation such as a complete blood count (CBC) to evaluate your platelet count.

If you notice any unusual oral signs or symptoms, make an appointment with your family dentist. After a comprehensive oral examination, they will recommend a treatment plan based on their diagnosis. When dental and systemic disorders are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible, you may be more likely to enjoy an excellent prognosis.