Background. Sjögren's syndrome, or SS, is a multisystem inflammatory disorder of the exocrine glands with a wide range of extraglandular involvement. Symptoms of dry eyes and xerostomia, although not invariably present, are characteristic features of SS. An increased risk of oral and dental diseases is a prominent consequence of SS. Types of Studies Reviewed. The author reviewed recent medical and dental studies that have advanced our understanding of the causes and treatment of SS. She particularly focused on studies addressing the diagnosis and treatment of the oral component of the disease. Results. Sjögren's syndrome is a widely underdiagnosed disease. A delay in the diagnosis of SS may have a significant physical, psychological and economic impact on the affected person. The pathogenesis of SS appears to involve a number of factors: immunological, genetic, hormonal and possibly infectious. Successful management of SS requires a multidisciplinary approach, and the dentist plays an essential role in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. Oral Implications. Impairment of salivary function in SS increases the risk of developing oral diseases. Effective management of oral health comprises enhancement of salivary output (cholinergic agonist drugs such as pilocarpine or cevimeline) and prevention and treatment of dental caries, oral candidiasis and allergic mucositis. Finally, periodic evaluation of various clinical and laboratory parameters is needed to monitor disease status.
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