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OBJECTIVE: Due to the heterogeneous manifestation and multiple organ affectation associated with systemic sclerosis, a multidisciplinary management approach has been advocated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of knowledge of some medical specialists on oral manifestations of systemic sclerosis and the need for interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary collaboration with dentists in a tertiary hospital in the management of patients with this condition.
METHODS: This study was conducted at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Edo State. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire with a cover paged informed consent form and was distributed among some medical specialists in the departments of internal medicine, family medicine, mental health and ophthalmology. The information collected was analyzed using statistical package for social sciences SPSS for windows version 23.0 software (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, USA).
RESULTS: A total of 80 questionnaires were distributed among the physicians in UBTH, of which 50 were completely answered and returned, giving a response rate of 62.5%. Of these 50 respondents, 27 (54.0%) were male and 23 (46.0%) were female. On the grading of the oral manifestation of SSc knowledge, 19(34%) no knowledge, 12(24%) had poor knowledge, 9(18%) had 10(20%) had good knowledge. A total of 24 (48.0%) of the respondents strongly agreed while 18(36%) agreed for a multidisciplinary management with a dentist.
CONCLUSION: A good number of medical specialists from on this study had insufficient to poor knowledge of oral manifestations of systemic sclerosis. This has made collaboration with the dentist almost absent. A multidisciplinary collaborative interaction is encouraged to prevent worsening oral manifestations associated with systemic sclerosis.