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Fast Facts: Perio Edition - Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Disease - Infantile genetic agranulocytosis

Fast Facts

Fast Facts: Perio Edition Episode 65
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back everyone! You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
Hello, and welcome to Fast Facts: Perio Edition. This week we are continuing our chat about various types of systemic diseases that will contribute to Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Disease. Remember, these are all relatively obscure, relatively rare diseases in which, if an individual experiences this disease, they will likely experience periodontitis. And this week we're talking about Infantile Genetic Agranulocytosis. That's a mouthful, huh? I know I should not quit my day job. So we're talking about Infantile Genetic Agranulocytosis and this, for our listeners, is going to sound relatively similar to the previous episode where we talked about neutropenias. You see, an individual who has Infantile Genetic Agranulocytosis is an individual who is born, present at birth with this congenital or genetic disorder. We also, by the way, can have individuals who experience Acquired Agranulocytosis, so you can be born with it. You can also have Acquired Agranulocytosis in which an individual could be exposed to chemicals, some prescription medications, cancer medications, antipsychotic medications, for example, that will develop a form of Drug-Induced Agranulocytosis. However, in general, only about seven people out of every 1 million each year experience Agranulocytosis. And yes, this will appear very similar to a neutropenia because agranulocytosis is a blood disorder in which the body is unable to make neutrophils.
We understand, of course, that these neutrophils, these white blood cells, are a really important component of the immune system because they aid in the fighting of infection. So if an individual has Infantile Genetic Agranulocytosis, these are individuals who absolutely are going to be prone to infection and periodontitis, of course, is no exception. When individuals experience Agranulocytosis, they will oftentimes not only be prone to infection, but also experience things like fever, chills, elevated heart rate and breathing, a sudden drop in their blood pressure, which could even make them feel lightheaded or weak, that hypotensive status, they could also have muscle weakness and fatigue, sores in their mouth, which, of course, makes it difficult to swallow, sore throat, bleeding, and, of course, inflammation of the gum tissues.
Typically, this is diagnosed via a blood test, and it's typically managed through a combination of antibiotics, maybe even injections of a drug which are going to introduce white blood cells into the bloodstream, immunosuppressant drugs, a bone marrow transplant, and, of course, very important, the prevention of infection. Individuals with agranulocytosis must be very careful to avoid infection. They are oftentimes instructed to wear a face covering in public, avoiding crowds, washing their hands very often.
So what does that mean for us in the dental profession? It absolutely means that individuals who may be experiencing oral infection associated with their Infantile Genetic Agranulocytosis are individuals who must be treated right away and then maintained consistently in order to continue to reduce the threat or vulnerability that they have to infection. Thank you so much for joining us this week. Tune in next time as we continue the conversation about periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic disease.
This has been another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts - Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We'll see you next week for another Fast Fact!

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