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Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1997 Apr;35(2):96-103.

The establishment of a xerostomia clinic: a prospective study.

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Department of Clinical Dental Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Liverpool, UK.


The study investigated the aetiological factors and management of patients who have xerostomia. The subjects were 100 consecutive patients referred to the Oral Medicine Unit for investigation of oral dryness. A detailed case history was recorded and patients underwent a systematic examination together with sialometry, haematological, biochemical and immunological investigations. Suspected cases of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) were referred for assessment by a rheumatologist and ophthalmologist. Objective evidence of salivary gland hypofunction was found in 39 patients. A definite diagnosis of primary and secondary SS was made in 24 and 15 patients respectively, a further five cases had possible primary SS. Other causes of xerostomia were: undiagnosed diabetes (3); drug-induced (11); therapeutic radiation (3); alcohol-related (3); psychogenic (15) and idiopathic (21). Patients complaining of a dry mouth should be questioned about non-oral symptoms. In total, 40% of patients attending the dry mouth clinic had a diagnosis of SS.

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