Scleroderma and oral health care (Dental care)

Scleroderma is a chronic auto-immune condition that mostly affects women.  I won’t get into too much detail about the disease but rather cut right to the effects it has on the mouth and how you can reduce those negative effects.

Xerostomia (mouth dryness)

  • I have an entire post on mouth dryness linked here.  There is a lot of helpful information located there.

Microstomia (limited mouth opening due to tightening of skin)

  • Difficulty with eating and perhaps speech.
  • Can make it difficult to insert and remove dentures and undergo routine dental care.
  • Nothing can really help with this and the effects just have to be dealt with

Mouth issues

  • Flat white patches
  • Loss of attached gingival mucosa=gingival recession
  • Diffuse widening of the periodontal ligament (PDL) space are seen like below
Ligaments attaching teeth to bone are inflamed causing teeth to be loose

Patients with this condition often have multiple auto-immune conditions like Sjögren’s Syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  Together they make for thin friable tissue that is easily irritated.  This is important because these patients usually end up losing the majority of their teeth for various disease related issues.  That thin tissue makes traditional dentures difficult if not impossible to endure as the tissue is continually being rubbed raw.  I typically will reject making anything but an implant supported denture for these patients, although these can be impossible if mouth is too restricted.

Bryan Bauer, DDS, FAGD

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2 Responses to “Scleroderma and oral health care (Dental care)”

  1. shanique L RiderApril 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

    Good evening,
    I have been diagnoised with scloderma, rynauids, ruthemoid arthitis, for 17 years. now i am having problems with my mouth. what can you recommend

    • Bauer BryanApril 18, 2018 at 4:31 am #

      Go to the dry mouth post in this one.

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