Sclerdoerma is a connective tissue disease that involves changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. It is a type of autoimmune disorder, a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue.Scleroderma affects women more often than men and most commonly occurs between the ages of 30 and 50.
Causes of Scleroderma
Scleroderma results from an overproduction and accumulation of collagen in body tissues. Collagen is a fibrous type of protein that makes up your body’s connective tissues, including your skin.
Common Dental Problems in Scleroderma
- Tightening of the facial skin creates limited mouth opening making oral hygiene and dental care more difficult.
- Due to the damage of the salivary glands with connective tissue, patients with scleroderma develop xerostomia or dry mouth. That increases the risk of developing cavities.
- Due to the overproduction of connective tissue in the ligaments around the teeth, the bone of the tooth socket resorbs making teeth loose.
Dental Treatment of Patients with Scleroderma
The most important part of dental care in patients with scleroderma is the prevention of decay. A limited mouth opening imposes certain technical difficulties for your dentist. Prevention is the key. Regular check ups and cleanings are essential in preventing any major dental work.
- Brushing and flossing (if your hands are impacted by scleroderma and you have difficulty holding a toothbrush, there are special toothbrushes and handles that would help you to hold your toothbrush properly).
- Fluoridated mouth rinses; fluoridated toothpaste will deliver active ingredients such as fluoride or xylitol to help prevent tooth decay.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist.
- Avoid mouth rinses containing alcohol.
- Mouth stretching exercises will prevent the tissue around the mouth from further tightening.
If you need more extensive care, make sure that you see a specialist in this field to make your dental experience easier.Dr. Lyssova is a maxillo-facial prosthodontist who specializes in the treatment of patients with scleroderma.
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