Dentist Appointments Can Be Problematic for Those With Hemophilia
Last week, my husband, Jared, and I booked a visit to our trusted dentist. We hadn’t had our regular teeth cleaning for over a year because of pandemic restrictions. Alarmed by the amount of tartar on our teeth and frequent toothaches, we thought we’d better go in for dental prophylaxis.
A few days earlier, Jared, who has severe hemophilia, had a forearm bleed. It wasn’t a bad bleed by any means, and he considered it minor because it didn’t interfere with his daily life. He managed to infuse a small amount of factor just in time, and the bleed healed quickly.
But the dental procedure caused his gums to bleed a lot. Jared said the bleeding didn’t stop for two days. Still, we didn’t think an infusion was necessary because the blood loss would be minor compared with what he experienced previously while having a tooth extracted. That time, he needed to infuse the maximum dose of factor twice, and still the bleeding only stopped a week later!
Just two days after our dental appointment, Jared had a sudden ankle bleed right into his target joint, which is a joint that bleeds frequently.
It was Monday, and we had decided to go to the mall. Our daughter insisted on going with us, so we brought her along. That day, Jared’s favorite fragrance store was having a sale, so we jumped at the opportunity. We thought we’d also go to a department store to buy clothes for our daughter and our niece. But a day of spontaneous family fun was interrupted by an equally spontaneous bleed.
Because Jared’s right ankle is a target joint, bleeds in that area are more severe than in other places and usually cause more pain. Thankfully, this particular bleed wasn’t as painful as a jaw bleed he had a few months ago.
His ankle bleeds, however, cause him to lose mobility, and he needs to immobilize the joint to control the bleeding. This means he must avoid walking or any other motion that would stress his ankle while it recovers.
As I write this, Jared’s ankle is still recovering. He tells me the pain has subsided by a great deal, although his tolerance for pain is high. He isn’t walking around yet, but he can make it to the bathroom with the help of a cane. Recently, he delighted in having a bath, which is particularly soothing during the hot summer season here in the Philippines.
Jared and I believe that this ankle bleed could have been avoided if he had taken the appropriate precautions before having a dental procedure. Jared normally bleeds once a month, which makes another spontaneous bleed after just a week unusual. Next time, we’ll take trips to the dentist a lot more seriously.
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