Systemic sclerosis (SSc), commonly known as scleroderma, can cause numerous dental problems when it affects the face and mouth. Skin tightening can cause the mouth to become smaller (microstomia), as well as TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia. It is often accompanied by dryness of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes (Sjogren's syndrome) and the resulting dry mouth (xerostomia) may result in increased cavities, gum disease, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. (Also see Scleroderma Dental Involvement, What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma, and Systemic Sclerosis)
Sublingual Abnormalities in Systemic Sclerosis (SSc). This feasibility study confirms the presence of clinical sublingual abnormalities in SSc and the functional significance and pathogenesis of this abnormality warrant further study. PubMed, J Clin Rheumatol, 2016 Jan;22(1):19-21.
Oral manifestations of Systemic Sclerosis and Correlation with anti-Topoisomerase I Antibodies (SCL-70). Oral symptoms have been frequent in patients with Scleroderma, SCL -70 positive but not statistically significant difference. PubMed, Med Arch. (Also see Antibodies)
Care for systemic scleroderma mouth involvement should include frequent dental hygiene visits, daily mouth exercises, monthly measuring of mouth opening, treatment of dry mouth if necessary, and meticulous attention to flossing and brushing. (Also see: What is Scleroderma?)
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