A 70-year-old male presents for an extraction of tooth no. 5 due to gingival-level fracture. The patient was seen two weeks prior for a limited exam to assess the break. At that time, he had received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. At this dental visit, he’d had the second round of the vaccine.
Over the course of the last year, the patient reported extreme stress, grinding, and subsequent breaking of teeth, of which no. 6 was extracted not nine months earlier. He received an interim partial denture/acrylic flipper to replace missing nos. 6 and 7. His blood pressure had been noted to increase over the last year, to which he had been turned away at one dental visit and advised to see his general practitioner to get his blood pressure lowered before treatment was rendered.
Clinical examinationWhen we sat the patient back in the chair for delivery of local anesthetic, numerous large, irregular-bordered ulcerated lesions were noted throughout the
Upon inquiring, the patient stated that since his tooth broke, his tongue perpetually rubbed against the flipper, eventually causing those lesions, as well as others, throughout his mouth. He said the lesions appeared about one week prior. Given the location and duration of the lesions and the patient’s health history, it was clear that the partial was not the genesis for this pathology; stress and poor health were indeed the culprits.
Well, the ramifications of COVID-19 once again have reared their ugly head. Stress, grinding, increased blood pressure, nervous habits, poor diet, diagnosis of type 2 diabetes...put all of these into a melting pot of challenges that place strain on the body’s systems, and something has to give. In this particular scenario—due to the size and conglomerated nature of the lesions—the patient had herpetiform/aphthous major ulcers.
Treatment and discussion
Treatment for this patient was a prescription for acyclovir 400 mg, four to five times a day for a week. He was given instructions for care, which were primarily palliative, for the next seven to 10 days. A prescription for topical cream was denied.
This informative, research-based page on aphthous mouth ulcers will give you a quick guide/reference/refresher on HSV-1. While the existence of canker sores has always been part of many of our patients’ lives, recent environmental stressors have played a role in an increased outbreak across the general population. This has created a need for us, as health-care providers, to up our game in prompt diagnosis, treatment, and encouragement of patient overall self-wellness.