Scleroderma and CREST syndrome: a case report in dentistry

Minerva Stomatol. 2011 Sep;60(9):443-65.
[Article in English, Italian]


CREST syndrome is part of the heterogeneous scleroderma group of autoimmune diseases that cause thickening, hardening and tightening of the connective tissue in different parts of the body, and it may lead to complex disorders. CREST syndrome is characterized by the coexistence of calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal hypomotility, sclerodactily and telangectasia. A 72-year-old caucasian woman is referred to the S. Gerardo Hospital of Monza, with a chief complaint of oral pain and difficulties in deglutition and eating, associated with denture instability and difficulties to fit it. She had been previously diagnosed with Raynaud's phenomenon, and afterwards with CREST syndrome. Extra-oral examination underlined taut, thickened and rigid skin, pallid-red irregular maculae all over the face, telangiectasias and acrocyanosis. Intra-oral examination showed no alteration of the mucosa, but we can observe tongue rigidity and some speckled red alternating with white spots on the hard palate and in the vestibule. We undermitted the patient the dental treatment of Sjogren's syndrome. The management of the Sjogren's syndrome is symptomatic and empirical, and involves the use of saliva secretion stimulators, salivary substitutes and coadjuvants. Dental treatment and prophylaxis are important to prevent the consequences of xerostomia, such as rampant caries, based on the administration of topical fluoride in toothpastes and rinses, and supplemented by fluoride gels and varnishes. Instruction and reinforcement of oral hygiene, along with frequent dental assessment and management by the dentist are essential measures to preserve the oral health of those affected with CREST syndrome in progression to SS, complicated with Sjogren's syndrome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • CREST Syndrome / complications*
  • CREST Syndrome / pathology
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Dentures
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ophthalmic Solutions / therapeutic use
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Palate / pathology
  • Pilocarpine / therapeutic use
  • Saliva, Artificial / therapeutic use
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / classification
  • Scleroderma, Diffuse / epidemiology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / classification
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Skin / pathology
  • Tongue / pathology
  • Viscera / pathology
  • Xerostomia / drug therapy
  • Xerostomia / etiology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Saliva, Artificial
  • Pilocarpine