Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that causes challenges for people’s oral health. At the Brentwood dental office of Dr. Lis Bradley, we want to make sure that our patients with this disorder understand what this disorder does and how it is tested for.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, creates an environment in which decay-causing bacteria flourish. Food debris remains stuck in the mouth, allowing bacteria to feed and multiply out of control. In people with Sjögren’s Syndrome, the immune system attacks the salivary glands, preventing them from producing saliva, and dry mouth commonly results.
Most cases of Sjögren’s Syndrome occur alongside lupus in older women. It seems to develop in people who are genetically susceptible after they have suffered an infection. It also causes the immune system to attack the tear ducts, resulting in dry eyes. If a patient presents with symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome, they will be referred to an oral surgeon who will take some samples of their saliva glands. (This is called a lower lip biopsy.) The tissues will then be analyzed in a laboratory. If a person does have the syndrome, they may benefit from the use of a water pick to help with their hygiene, and from throat moisturizers and medications to induce more saliva flow.
Lis Bradley, DDS, operates at 8112 Isabella Ln, Suite 101, Brentwood, Tennessee. To schedule an appointment, visit Lis Bradley or call 615-778-0810.