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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-44

Oral manifestations of patients with leprosy: A disease, actually infectious but not always, still a stigma in society

1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Lenora Institute of Dental Sciences, Rajahmundry, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sibar Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Saraswati-Dhanwantari Dental College and Hospital and Post-Graduate Research Institute, Parbhani, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Government Dental College, Kashmir, India

Correspondence Address:
Abhishek S Nayyar
44, Behind Singla Nursing Home, New Friends' Colony, Model Town, Panipat - 132 103, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-6530.162479

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Context Leprosy is a chronic granulomatous infectious disease process in humans primarily involving the skin, peripheral nerves, and nasal mucosa but capable of affecting any tissue or organ. The leprae bacilli were first observed by Hansen in 1868. Although this was the first bacterial human pathogen to be described, it continues to remain one of the least understood. Aims The aim of the study was to evaluate oral and facial manifestations in patients affected with leprosy. Materials and methods The present study was performed with an aim of reviewing oral and facial manifestations in patients suffering from leprosy. For this, 150 patients suffering from lepromatous and tuberculoid forms of leprosy were included in the study. The study was approved by the ethical committee appointed by SIBAR Institute of Dental Sciences, Guntur. Permission was also taken from asylum management and the district leprosy officer to conduct the study. All study samples were patients diagnosed with Hansen's disease by a leprologist using a bacteriological index. Results In the present study, oral and facial manifestations were observed more frequently in the lepromatous type of leprosy than in the tuberculoid form. Also, these manifestations were less pronounced in group I than in group II and were more in groups III and IV based on increased exposure to the disease process. Statistical analysis was performed using the c2 -test and P values were also found to be significant. Conclusion Present day diagnostic protocols for early detection and treatment are effective in controlling the disease and in preventing further progression with severe orofacial manifestations. A dentist should be able to recognize these manifestations and treat them under the supervision of a leprologist. Protective care must be taken in treating the disease, although it should not be held as a nightmare as was considered previously.

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