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Dental Treatment for a Sjögren’s Syndrome Patient

The lack of saliva can complicate dental treatment for the Sjögren's Syndrome patient.

Sjögren’s syndrome is the second most common autoimmune disease, second to rheumatoid arthritis, and predominantly affects women with an average age of diagnosis at 50 years. It can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary Sjögren’s syndrome affects the exocrine glands and diminishes the gland function of lacrimal and salivary glands. As a result, this causes dry eyes, dry mouth, and skin. Secondary Sjögren’s syndrome has additional rheumatic or connective tissue disease components such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or progressive systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). At present, there remains no cure for Sjögren's syndrome. Therefore, treatment is symptomatic with a multidisciplinary approach.

In the Sjögrens's Syndrome patient, dry mouth caused by a reduced saliva barrier makes the patient susceptible to tooth decay. Furthermore, reduced saliva and lubrication create swallowing and speech difficulties and increase tooth infection potential. Similarly, the tongue can have a beefy red appearance with loss of papillae or deep fissures. The mucosa can appear erythematous; patients with angular cheilitis and possible Candida infection will have dry, painful lips. Please read our article on dry mouth, What to do for Dry Mouth Syndrome, and download a copy of The Challacombe Scale of Oral Dryness. 

Above all, the accelerated risk of tooth loss requires the patient to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Secondly, the patient must attend frequent maintenance visits to the dentist or hygienist to apply a fluoride application.

Denture wearing for Sjögren’s patients can be complicated because the lack of saliva reduces denture retention, affecting mastication and speech.

A dry mouth can make wearing a denture uncomfortable and even painful. Consequently, the lack of denture retention from dry mouth can further irritate compromised mucosa and candidiasis infection. In conclusion, dental implants can offer a successful outcome for Sjögren's patients because implants allow support and restoration without tooth decay risks. However, there are still concerns that implant failure could be greater in these patients due to the lack of saliva, so plaque control and maintenance are crucial. All-natural products like Dr. Heff’s Remarkable Mints promote saliva production, aid tooth remineralization, contain collagen-promoting polyphenols from green tea, and help resolve areas of early decay. Our mints are the perfect complement to a dental implant treatment plan. Click to see treatment photos and read Dr. Michael Heffernan's full clinical report:

Clinical Report: Implant and Conventional Fixed Prosthodontic Rehabilitation of a Patient with Sjögren’s Syndrome.

To stock Dr. Heff's Remarkable Mints in your practice or shop, please contact [email protected]

Happy to help,

Dr. Mike Heffernan 

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