rare diseases

The European Union defines a disease as “rare” if it affects no more than five in 10,000 people. According to this, there are 6,000 to 8,000 rare diseases worldwide. They are usually only correctly diagnosed after years, are usually chronic and can be life-threatening. Around four million people in Germany and 30 million people in the EU live with the diagnosis. 

“Dentists have an important role to play in combating rare diseases,” says dentist Dr. Christian Öttl, Federal Chairman of the Free Association of German Dentists (FVDZ). Around 15 percent of all known rare diseases could manifest themselves through symptoms in the mouth, jaw and facial area and could possibly provide an indication of the underlying disease. These included cleft and facial deformities, anomalies of the teeth, the oral mucosa or the jawbone. “Research has shown that rare diseases with orofacial manifestations are diagnosed earlier than rare diseases without involving the chewing organ or facial area,” reports Öttl. 

80 percent of all rare diseases are hereditary. But certain tumor diseases and certain diseases of the immune system are also rare diseases. “They are often noticeable in newborns and infants. But others only appear in adulthood,” says the Munich dentist. 

“According to estimates, the proportion of patients with rare diseases will continue to increase. This makes it all the more important to have regular check-ups at the dentist. “They increase the chance of discovering rare diseases at an early stage,” sums up Öttl. Dentists could then initiate treatment and give advice on individual oral hygiene as well as refer people to specialists and one of the “Centers for Rare Diseases”.

Dentists should be aware of various rare diseases that may manifest in the oral cavity or have oral manifestations. Understanding these rare diseases and their oral manifestations is crucial for dentists to provide comprehensive care and refer patients to appropriate specialists for further management when necessary.

Source: ZWP online

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