Scleroderma and your oral health

How will scleroderma or progressive systemic sclerosis affect your dental treatment?

Scleroderma is a disease that hardens the skin especially the skin on your hands and the skin on your face. Your lips and your tongue may become firm, the opening of your mouth may narrow, and the folds of skin near your mouth disappear. In short, your face will look like a mask. If the skin and muscles around your jaw get affected by scleroderma then movement in your jaw is significantly reduced.

Scleroderma makes it hard for your dentist to see and treat your mouth especially your back teeth. As your mouth becomes narrower, your lips become more rigid, and your tongue becomes more inflexible, then it may be difficult for your dentist to prepare crowns, dentures, and other dental appliances. It is important that you exert all your efforts in keeping your teeth and your gums healthy in order to prevent losing your teeth.

Scleroderma patients can also have oral problems because of the medications they take. The most frequent problems they encounter are dry mouth or xerostomia, cavities, gum overgrowth, and periodontal gum disease.

You should always tell your dentist about the medications you take and their respective dosages so that your dentist can take the necessary precautions to reduce infection, minimize bleeding, and prevent other negative side effects. Your dentist must also know if your disease has affected any of your other organs because this will affect your dental treatment. For instance, if scleroderma has affected your kidneys then you may not be capable of processing medications properly.

As far as dental care is concerned, scleroderma has a big impact. For example, if scleroderma has affected your lower jaw then the bone could break easily because of more painstaking dental treatments like tooth extractions. Moreover, dental procedures may take longer because you have a hard time opening your mouth.