Oral health is not frequently considered within the sphere of a rheumatologist’s practice. However, recent results published by the Canadian Scleroderma Research Group (CSRG) point out the importance of assessing oral health in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Result of 3-Year Grant
Between 2008 and 2011, 163 patients with SSc and 231 controls were entered into a multisite, cross-sectional study. “[This study is] the result of a three-year grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research for ‘The impact of oral–facial manifestations of SSc on health-related quality of life (QoL),’” says Mervyn Gornitsky, FRCD(C), professor emeritus in the faculty of dentistry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “Recruitment for both controls and patients was greater in number than had ever been done.”
Seven CCRG sites throughout Canada were involved with recruitment. Dentists from various sites performed detailed, standardized examinations of the oral and dental tissues. X-rays were taken as needed and read by two (blinded) oral radiologists.