The Mouth in Scleroderma - Tools to Help Dentists Better Understand Your Condition
In 2021 SRUK funded a research project led by Professor Liz Walker, based at the University of Hull, entitled 'Scleroderma in the Mouth: Improving Pathways to Care'. The project focusses on improving oral and dental care in Scleroderma to help improve quality of life. The team have recently produced some useful materials to foster greater awareness of the oral manifestations of Scleroderma amongst dentists. Read on to access a video and information card which you can show to your dentist to help them learn more about your condition and how it affects your oral health.
Research suggests that 80% of people diagnosed with Scleroderma will experience oral and dental complications as a result of their condition. Patients often report that these problems can lead to a variety of physical, psychological, and social issues with the potential to drastically reduce quality of life.
In 2021 SRUK launched the ‘Improving Quality of Life’ grant call, which provided total funding of £55,000 split between two research projects. One of these projects, entitled ‘Scleroderma in the Mouth: Improving Pathways to Care’, focussed on improving oral and dental care in Scleroderma to help improve quality of life.
The project is led by Professor Liz Walker from the University of Hull, who is supported by her co-investigator Dr Liz Price, and Professor Francesco Del Galdo and Dr Vishal Aggarwal from the University of Leeds.
The Scleroderma in the Mouth project is currently underway, and has aimed to improve oral and dental care for people living with the condition by understanding patient and clinical perspectives of the problems, identifying barriers to good care, and by raising awareness and developing guidance for dentists and rheumatologists to improve the referral pathway to specialist dental services.
Through their research, Professor Walker’s team have found that many patients feel a lack of understanding, knowledge, and awareness of the condition amongst dental professionals meant that the care they received was often inappropriate, did not take their condition into account, and reduced their chances of being referred to specialist services.
As a result, Professor Walker's team have developed some materials to foster greater awareness of the oral manifestations of Scleroderma amongst dentists. Below you can find a video and information card which you can show to your dentist to help them learn more about your condition, how it affects your oral health, and how they can best help a patient like you living with Scleroderma.
You can find more information about the Scleroderma in the Mouth research project in the next edition of the SRUK magazine, which outlines the team's findings relating to the patient experience of oral and dental problems, barriers to good dental care, and their guidance for dentists and other healthcare professionals. We look forward to sharing further insights from the project after completion!