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Fearing Dentist Appointment

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Hi Scleropeeps,

I have not been to a dentist since I lost dental coverage when I could no longer work. That was 12 years ago. I know... So NOW I have a cracked tooth on my right AND a filling came out on my left. I have never liked the dentist but am even more fearful now,  with my small mouth and tight jaw.


I made my appointment and "warned" the receptionist to warn the dentist about me. A new dentist to me, and I live in a small town, so I doubt he has ever seen anyone with scleroderma.


I am just wanting to know if anyone else has had to have any major dental work done and how did it go?  I remember one of my doctors telling me I will need to go on antibiotics but don't remember why - maybe it is because I take max dose of Cellcept?

Take care,



Serena Justis

ISN Blogger

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Barefut,


How lovely to hear from you again and also read your cracking blog, although I'm sorry that you're suffering in the tooth department.


As you've ascertained, it's likely that your new dentist has never had to deal with anyone with scleroderma before, although a competent dentist should be aware that not everyone can open their mouth to the fullest extent and so therefore he/she should be able to treat you successfully. We've got lots of information on our Dental Involvement page.


My dentist is quite good; when I first started taking alendronic acid (to counter side effects from prednisolone) she recoiled in horror and refused to do any extractions herself (necessitating an expensive operation from a "specialist  dentist" - hmm!) I've since had quite a lot of things done (including a partial plate of false teeth) and had no problem; the thing that hurt the most was paying the bill for anything that isn't covered on my dental insurance!! :wink:


Possibly the antibiotics could be necessary, as you haven't been to the dentist for a long while and might need more invasive treatment. I'm on immune suppressants, but have not needed antibiotics, unless I've had a real problem.  I do hope that your upcoming visit to your new dentist is not as fearsome as you expect and that you will be able to post and tell us that everything went well.


Best wishes,

Jo Frowde

ISN Board Member

ISN Secretary of the Board

ISN Assistant Webmaster

SD World Webmaster

ISN Sclero Forums Manager

ISN News Manager

ISN Hotline Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Barefut,


The guidelines about antibiotics for dental work are being continually changed as more detailed research emerges. I used to have to take premeds for dental work due to mitral valve prolapse.  Then, they decided, not.  Now I have to take premeds for dental work for another condition, and to be on the safe side, my dentist even has my doctor sign off on procedures beforehand.  Last week it was root planing.  Next week will be another tooth pulled.  That's pretty much par for the course when Sjogren's and scleroderma are your tooth fairies. 


You're situated differently, being in a small town. But if you were in a larger metropolitan area, I'd encourage you to shop around for a dentist.  Years ago, I went to a hospital dental school clinic that was only for people with severe illness. That was heavenly, as they were very helpful and they became quite knowledgeable about scleroderma, too. Happily, it also cost a lot less than a regular dentist. 


Lacking that, I recommend that people with scleroderma mouth involvement look for a Family dentistry practice that practices Digital Dentistry -- and one that works on kids, too -- because they have child-size equipment like tooth rests and they are used to working in small mouths.  Many more tips are in our section on Scleroderma Dental Involvement




Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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