Can I Go To The Dentist With Oral Thrush?
In this brief article we are going to learn about whether a person can go to a dentist if they have an oral thrush infection and also, what a dentist will do if a person has an oral thrush.
Can I Go To The Dentist With Oral Thrush?
Yes, you can go to the dentist with an oral thrush. In fact it is a wise decision to go to the dentist if you have an oral thrush infection. Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth and the perioral region which can infect anyone who happens to be the right kind of host for the fungus to grow. Oral thrush, which is caused by a fungus called candida albicans, is an opportunistic infection and invades the host as an infection when a person’s immunity weakens.
Weakening of immunity can happen due to multiple reasons. As soon as the immunity weakens, candida finds the right kind of environment to grow and strats multiplying rapidly, leading to thrush. Elderly people who wear dentures are the most prone group to develop oral thrush, especially if their dentures are not kept clean or if they are ill fitting. Apart from this, people with some systemic disease that can lead to a weak immunity like diabetes can also get oral thrush easily. Read this article to know more about who is most susceptible to get an oral thrush infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Thrush?
Like every infection in the body, oral thrush also presents with some specific signs and symptoms that indicate the infection. The most classic sign of oral thrush is white plaque like deposits on the surface of the area involved. These plaque-like deposits when scraped off lead to bleeding in the underlying skin.
The most commonly involved areas in an oral thrush infection are the inside of the cheeks, the tongue, the palate, the gums and the corners of the mouth. White, milky deposits on the lining of the skin of these areas are the classic telltale sign of oral thrush. Burning sensation and pain is also present in the infected region. At times, the involved area may become sore, red and cracked which can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort.
Sometimes, white plaque does not develop in oral thrush. The infected area is merely red, painful and swollen with multiple cracks. These cracks can be extremely painful and can cause great pain upon opening the mouth, especially if oral thrush develops in the corners of the mouth. Swallowing can become difficult if the lesions are present on the throat. A dry cotton mouth sensation can also be present with a loss of taste too.
What Are The Precautions In Thrush?
Even though oral thrush is not a life threatening infection and usually goes away in a couple of days to a few weeks, it should not be treated lightly. If oral thrush is left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and lead to systemic candidiasis which can have serious complications. It is important to take medical treatment immediately if a person has an oral thrush.
Certain precautionary measures should be followed to ensure timely healing of the infection and also to minimise the discomfort associated with oral thrush. These precautions are:
- Avoid spicy food: this can lead to an increase in the burning and pain when the spicy food comes in contact with the infected area. It is best to eat food with minimum spice so as to avoid discomfort.
- Eat a soft diet: oral thrush can cause difficulty in opening the mouth and swallowing, especially if the lesions are present in the throat. Eating soft foods like curd, porridge etc will ease this discomfort as they are easy to swallow and require minimum chewing.
- Don’t scrape the lesion: try no to scrape the lesion of oral thrush as this can cause pain and bleeding in the skin below. Wiping of the whote plaque may seem like the infection will go away but this is not true. The plague will form once again within a matter of a few hours and will lead to pain and burning.
- Take proper medication: do not miss your medications and make sure to visit the dentist even after the infection has subised for a follow up.
- Keep dentures clean: if you wear dentures, make sure you clean them thoroughly as they can house many infectious microorganisms if they are left unclean. If your dentures are ill fitting, make sure you inform your dentist or denturist about them and get them repaired.
- Do not share utensils: do not share your utensils or towels with others if you have an active oral thrush infection. Oral thrush is highly contagious and the fungus spores can transfer to others if utensils and other personal items are shared.
How Is Thrush Diagnosed?
Your dentist will diagnose an oral thrush based on your signs and symptoms. They will inspect your face and the mouth and look for an infected region. They will take the history of your infection from you based upon certain questions like whether you have had an oral thrush before, any medical history, etc. Based upon all this information a diagnosis will be made.
At times some other conditions can be mistaken for oral thrush. Lichen planus is one such condition. Oral lichen planus is a chronic condition which also appears as white lined patterns on the inside of the cheeks. This condition is often confused with oral thrush. Read this article to know more about oral lichen planus.
If your dentist is facing this kind of a confusion, they may want to do a swab test. The dentist will scarpe of the white plaque from the region and send the swab to a pathology lab to get it tested. Based upon the test results of the lab, it will be confirmed whether you have oral thrush or not. Your dentist may prescribe some other tests as well to rule out a systemic infection or any other condition which may be an underlying cause of oral thrush. Once such systemic disease is HIV, where a person gets multiple infections of oral thrush or a thrush which does not get treated despite medications.
What Will A Dentist Do If I Have An Oral Thrush?
Once your diagnosis is confirmed as oral thrush, your dentist will put you on certain medicines. These medicines will target the fungus and kill it. Antifungal medicines are the first line treatment of oral thrush. Your dentist may give you oral antifungal medicines or topical antifungal ointments or a combination of both. The main drugs for oral thrush are nystatin, clotrimazole or miconazole. For severe infections, fluconazole is prescribed which is an orally given anti fungal medicine.
If the need is felt, an anit-fungal mouthwash may also be given to you. Along with antifungal medicines, multivitamins may also be prescribed as antifungal medicines can take a toll on the overall immunity of the body. Multivitamins will help restore the immunity. In addition to medical treatment, your dentist will also give you specific oral hygiene instructions. Any loose or ill fitting dentures will also be repaired.
Can I Get Dental Procedures Done In A Thrush?
It is best to avoid any kind of dental procedure done unless it is not an emergency. Your dentist will avoid performing any routine dental procedure if you have an active infection of oral thrush. As oral thrush is a contagious yeast infection, it can spread to others. The dentist will be at the highest risk as they will have to come in to direct contact with the infection while they perform a dental procedure on you.
Apart from this, performing a dental procedure when you have an oral thrush can lead to a spread of the fungus to other parts of your body as well. It can get into the bloodstream and cause a systemic candida infection. The heart and the lungs have the highest chances of contracting candidiasis. The fungal spores can survive for many hours and can lead to cross contamination, infecting others.
Also, the majority of dental procedures require a person to open their mouth for a long time. It can be quite an uncomfortable situation with a lot of pain if oral thrush has developed on the corners of the mouth. Therefore, it is best to seek treatment for oral thrush first and foremost and then go for a dental procedure once the infection has subsided. However, if you have a dental emergency, your dentist will treat you for it while following all the necessary universal precautions to avoid cross contamination.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can be mistaken for oral thrush?
Leukoplakia and oral lichen planus are two most commonly mistaken conditions for oral thrush. As these conditions present with somewhat similar appearance, a lack of proper knowledge can lead to misdiagnosis. A swab test is the best option to confirm the diagnosis for oral thrush if some confusion is being faced regarding the disease.
How fast can oral thrush spread?
Even though oral thrush is not a life threatening condition, it is important to seek medical treatment in case of an infection. Oral thrush can take upto 2 to 5 days to spread.
Can oral thrush make you sick?
Oral thrush usually does not make a person sick. However, incase of an immunocompromised patient, the infection can spread and cause a systemic infection, leading to severe sickness in the person.
Can stress cause oral thrush?
Yes, stress and anxiety are one of the major reasons for developing oral thrush. The other causes of oral thrush are improper oral hygiene, systemic diseases, weakened immunity, long term antibiotics and steroids etc.
Can you buy nystatin over the counter?
No, you cannot buy nystatin over the counter. Nystatin is an antifungal agent which can only be bought with a valid medical prescription from a doctor.
In order to get your oral as well as overall health back in shape, it is important to seek treatment from your dentist if you have an oral thrush. This will save you a lot of time and money and can prevent any complications that may arise if oral thrush is left untreated for long. Once the infection is gone, a follow up appointment should also be scheduled to ensure optimum recovery from the infection.