People with HIV are prone to gingivitis and periodontal disease whether or not they have developed full-blown AIDS. But the picture of periodontal disease in people with HIV or AIDS also includes oral problems that are unique to this condition.
- Necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis (NUP). NUP is a sign of severe suppression of the immune system, and patients who have it often complain of pain deep in the jaw. NUP causes pain, bleeding gums, and rapid destruction of the bone that supports the teeth. Someone with NUP will have ulcerated gum tissue surrounding the teeth, and the teeth may become loose. A dentist will treat this condition with a thorough cleaning and removal of infected tissue if necessary, followed by a course of antibiotics. NUP is very painful, and a patient’s dentist and doctor may work together to be sure that the patient is not in so much pain that he or she is unable to eat. If eating if too painful, nutritional supplements may be needed until the infection resolves.
- Linear gingival erythema (LGE, also called red band gingivitis). The key sign of LGE is a red band along the base of the teeth where they meet the gingival tissue. This condition is less severe than NUP, but it should be treated with a professional dental cleaning. If you have LGE, your dentist will likely prescribe an oral chlorhexidine gluconate rinse to incorporate into your regular daily dental care routine for a few weeks.