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Scleroderma: considerations for dental hygienists (by Tolle SL.)

Posted Sep 11 2009 4:58pm

Scleroderma, the general name of a group of progressive diseases affecting the connective tissues is the most deadly of the varying connective tissue disorders. Characterized by abnormal thickening of the skin, this collagen-vascular disease is associated with immune dysfunction. Hallmark signs of scleroderma include fibrosis, vascular instability and initial inflammation resulting from excessive collagen deposition.

Oral facial involvement is considerable, necessitating adaptations in patient oral self-care and influencing oral hygiene. Appropriate dental hygiene management of patients with this autoimmune disorder requires an understanding of clinical characteristics, the recognition of oral facial involvement, treatment considerations and pharmacological interventions. With this information, dental hygienists will be better prepared to provide compassionate, safe and effective dental hygiene management and care to patients with scleroderma.

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