End-stage Renal Disease

A patient with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) must receive dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Did you know that your overall health, including your oral health, affects your eligibility for a transplant? Post-operative oral infections can trigger an immune response, increasing the risk of organ rejection.

Studies show that approximately 90% of chronic renal failure patients have oral issues and that people with ESRD are more likely to develop tooth decay, gum disease, and dry mouth. Other co-morbidities and the drug-induced immunosuppression associated with the condition contribute to a higher incidence of oral infections or [gum disease]. Harmful levels of bacteria produced by oral infections can enter your bloodstream and worsen medical conditions like ESRD.

Preventive dental care is essential if you have ESRD

Preventive dental care and proper oral hygiene habits can help prevent gum disease and help you avoid experiencing additional complications associated with ESRD. So, it’s important to brush after every meal and before bedtime and floss at least once a day.

By scheduling regular dental checkups, you increase your chances of catching potential problems early and reversing any damage that can impact your health, which can positively affect the success of your transplant.  Your dentist will need to know your dialysis schedule in order to properly time dental treatment.

A unique program that supports better overall health—at no extra cost

Our Dental XtraSM program provides additional dental benefits that fight gum disease and improve your overall health. They include two extra cleanings or periodontal maintenance visits per year (a total of four). These valuable services are available to enrolled members at no extra cost when visiting a participating provider.

If you have health and dental plans from Arkansas Blue Cross and have been diagnosed with ESRD, you’re automatically enrolled. If you don’t have a health plan with Arkansas Blue Cross, you can easily enroll online.

Once enrolled, all you need to do is make an appointment with a participating dentist. You can find a dentist in your plan’s network at arkansasbluecross.com/find-care.