Mucormycosis, also known as Black Fungus or Zygomycosis, is a rare and serious fungal infection. It is caused by a group of molds known as mucorales, which are found in plants, soil, decaying vegetables and fruits. It is also found in the mucus and nose of a healthy individual. This often causes the damage of bones and teeth as well as the lungs and sinuses. In severe situations, it may potentially impair the brain and sight. Furthermore, mucormycosis has a significant fatality rate.
Below are a few symptoms of mucormycosis
- Discoloration of the gums and tongue
- Swelling of the face
- Pain in eyes and cheeks
- Sinus congestion
- Skin discolouration on the face
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Jaw pain
- Loosening of teeth
It is advisable for anyone experiencing symptoms of mucormycosis to seek medical attention as soon as possible! Coming to the treatment, Mucormycosis is hard to diagnose as it necessitates many consultations with experts including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, ENT specialists, infectious disease specialists, eye specialists and neurologists.
Even though it is hard to diagnose, luckily mucormycosis is highly curable with properly regulated antifungal drugs. The most crucial aspect of treating mucormycosis is to do it before it spreads to other body parts. However, there is a high chance for this infection to spread to the teeth and jaws. In some circumstances, surgical intervention is essential, and the damaged teeth and infected jaw must be removed since they cannot be salvaged or recovered. Here comes the question, what are the problems that arise after the removal of infected jaw and teeth?
Removal of the damaged teeth and infected jaw is important. If they are not removed the infection will spread to all bones of the infected patient’s face, and then the entire area affected with the fungus will have to be removed. But do you really think that the problem is solved by removing? Absolutely not, Here comes another problem even after the surgical procedure. As the mouth supporters; teeth and the bones are now gone.
The most common struggle with surviving black fungus is chewing food, resulting in dental issues like tooth decay, and gum diseases. And other than chewing, even difficulties in speech is also more common due to the loss of jaw bone. Due to missing teeth, dental implants or dentures, or dental cavities, it may be difficult to talk effectively and enunciate words.
Dental implants or Dentures may be required if your teeth have been lost due to mucormycosis. However, mucormycosis damages the bone in your mouth, which can result in missing teeth, discomfort, and chewing difficulty. Wearing dentures over mucormycosis-affected bone may exacerbate the illness or make recovery more difficult. As a result, obtaining dental implants is the greatest form of dental rehabilitation after recovering from mucormycosis.
Dental implants are basically prosthetic tooth roots that are surgically implanted into the jawbone, acting as the roots of missing teeth. They provide as a solid basis with either permanent or removable replacement teeth that are custom-made to match your natural teeth.
Why Getting Dental Implants Important After Mucormycosis Treatment? And Why not Dentures?
Dentures are removable dental prostheses that are used to replace the missing teeth and tissues. Placing dentures over mucormycosis-affected jawbone may worsen the condition and complicate recovery. Implants, on the other hand, can assist to stabilise the illness, speed up recovery, and sustain oral functioning throughout one's lifespan. Dental implants are also more comfortable than traditional dentures. As a result, selecting implants over dentures for post-Mucormycosis recovery is the best dental rehabilitation strategy (Black Fungus).
Below are a few other benefits of Dental Implants:
- Improves appearance, speech and comfort
- Behaves like a natural teeth
- Keeps adjacent teeth stable
- Help keep you free from gum diseases
- Prevents facial sagging
- Improves oral health
- Prevents bone loss
- Restores bite force
Who is more prone to Mucormycosis? and Dental Care tips to prevent the condition.
Mucormycosis is more common in patients who have health problems or who use medications that reduce the body's capacity to fight infections and illness. Diabetes, organ transplant, skin damage from operations or wounds, neutropenia, stem cell transplant, preterm and low birthweight, and even Covid-19 patients are at a higher risk of getting mucormycosis owing to compromised immune systems.
Medical experts believe that there is a strong link between dental health and COVID-19 infection. The odds of acquiring an infection are lowered when the teeth, gums, and roof of the mouth are well maintained. If a wound following a tooth extraction is not adequately cleansed and basic dental care is not performed, a person is more likely to get mucormycosis.
This is why Dentists recommend people to practise basic teeth care to lower their risks of contracting this rare but deadly condition.
Here are a Few Dental Care Tips to Prevent Black Fungus
Maintain oral hygiene:
Because Mucormycosis fungal spores can be found anywhere, it is critical to maintain adequate oral hygiene after recovering from Covid-19 or if you have diabetes or low immunity. So maintaining oral hygiene which includes brushing twice or thrice everyday can lower the risk of developing any infections. It is always important for everyone to maintain oral hygiene in order to reduce the risk of developing cavities, gum diseases, and bad breath.
Disinfect your toothbrush and tongue cleaner:
The best way to disinfect your toothbrush and tongue cleaner is to use hot water and clean. It is important to disinfect because it may raise the chance of the infection spreading to other family members as we store the toothbrush in the same holder as other family members. And keeping your toothbrush clean guarantees that you are not putting your health at danger.
Floss at least once a day:
Flossing is an essential element of your dental care regimen. Food particles and plaque that accumulate between teeth can be removed by flossing at night. Flossing everyday can protect against bad breath and gum disease better than brushing alone. It is not recommended to floss during the day as it leaves room between your teeth where plaque and extra food particles can quickly accumulate.
Another crucial step in your dental care programme is rinsing. Using antimicrobial mouthwash not only improves breath but also prevents hazardous microorganisms from entering. Mouthwash is a simple and efficient way to maintain proper oral hygiene. Besides that, regular mouthwash helps minimise tooth decay, gum disease, and makes your mouth feel noticeably clean.
Mucormycosis or Black fungus is one of the rare but common fungal infections, nowadays commonly observed in people affected with covid and/or people who are recovered from covid. It is always important to remember that this fungal infection can damage teeth and jaw bone. So it is advised to seek a dentist who specialises in mucormycosis care.