Pre Treatment Dental Issues For Oral Cancer
23 Nov

Pre Treatment Dental Issues For Oral Cancer

For patients who are about to undergo radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, a dental examination before treatment can do more than give them a healthier smile. By precluding many complications that could jeopardize treatment options or delay recovery, a pretreatment dental evaluation can also give patients something to smile about more successful radiation treatment and a smoother recovery.

According to clinical studies, irradiation immediately puts the patient with head and neck cancer at high risk for treatment-related complications including dry mouth (xerostomia), oral infections, oral muscle fibrosis, and jawbone destruction (osteoradionecrosis).

For patients who are about to undergo radiation therapy for head and neck cancer, a dental examination before treatment can do more than give them a healthier smile. By precluding many complications that could jeopardize treatment options or delay recovery, a pretreatment dental evaluation can also give patients something to smile about more successful radiation treatment and a smoother recovery.

According to clinical studies, irradiation immediately puts the patient with head and neck cancer at high risk for treatment-related complications including dry mouth (xerostomia), oral infections, oral muscle fibrosis, and jawbone destruction (osteoradionecrosis).

A dental examination before irradiation of head and neck cancers is important, for two reasons: to impress on the patient the need for fluoride therapy and to remove any unrestorable, abscessed, or periodontally diseased teeth in the field of radiation therapy. Many of these patients may also require fabrication of a radiation stent. “In many instances, teeth will need to be extracted before radiation treatment because once the patient has radiation treatment, oral and periodontal surgery may be contraindicated,” . “When extractions are required, they can be done under local or general anesthesia, depending on the degree of difficulty and the patient’s medical status.”

In some cases, radiation therapy cannot wait for dental treatment, and the head and neck physician will opt to deal with future dental sequelae as they arise. In most cases, however, dental evaluation and treatment can be done before radiation therapy and should be considered medically necessary.

In patients who have been or are about to be irradiated, the biggest dental problems is dental caries and periodontal disease. “In the healthy mouth,as per studies, “saliva balances the mouth’s acidity and dilutes any sugars that are eaten. Yet, because it is very difficult to exclude the salivary glands from radiation fields in the head and neck and because an irradiated gland can no longer produce saliva, oral acids take advantage and begin to attack the patient’s teeth. This greatly increases the chances for dental caries in every tooth.” As a result, the patient becomes prone to dental decay, jawbone destruction, and fevers due to these infections, all of which may hinder the recovery from cancer treatment. This is most likely to occur in patients with head and neck cancer whose dental hygiene is poor and in patients who have been irradiated despite having a preexisting dental infection.

 

-Assess the Risk of Periodontitis on www.periodontist.org.in

About the Author

Leave a Reply