Aim: This literature review aims to update the evidence for orofacial manifestations and current treatment recommendations for children and adolescents with sickle cell disease.
Background: Sickle cell disease is a frequent hemoglobinopathy and a life-threatening genetic disorder. The lifelong condition is characterized by chronic hemolytic anemia and vaso-occlusive crisis that may occur in a variable range of clinical presentations in different regions of the body, including the oral cavity.
Review results: This review explored the most common orofacial alterations of pediatric patients with SCD. Dental caries is a common finding in SCD pediatric patients, especially in those who are socio-economically vulnerable. Moreover, malocclusions occur in high prevalence in SCD pediatric patients. Other oral health complications seen in SCD patients include periodontal inflammation, bone changes, infections, mental nerve neuropathy, facial overgrowth, delayed tooth eruption, dental anomalies, pulp necrosis, soft tissue alterations and salivary changes. Dental infections may trigger a vaso-occlusive crisis leading the patient to a higher probability on arriving in hospital emergency departments and in need for further hospital admission to deal with the correlated complications. Thus, preventive dental care and non-invasive dental procedures are the principal focus in SCD patients in order to avoid possible subsequent complications.
Conclusion: The review showed that in pediatric patients with SCD the risk for orofacial manifestations and complications depends not only on the presence of SCD but also on other confounding factors such as oral hygiene, diet habits and social conditions. Moreover, more well-designed epidemiological studies are necessary to assess the real link between SCD disease and its impact on stomatognathic health.
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