Liver Disease and Dental Practice
Liver disorders are important to the dentist due to a potential bleeding tendency; intolerance to drugs, e.g. general anaesthetics and benzodiazepines; and the possibility of the underlying infective causes for the liver dysfunction.
Signs of liver disease include jaundice, spider naevi, leuconychia, finger clubbing, palmar erythema, Dupuytren’s contracture, sialosis and gynaecomastia.
The general anaesthetic agent halothane (now used infrequently) should not be given twice to the same patient within 3 months. A ‘halothane hepatitis’ is likely to result.
Dental sedation should only be performed in specialist units for patients with significant liver disease as small doses can lead to coma.
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