Cancer treatment can affect oral tissues and oral complications from radiation to the head and neck can compromise patients’ health and quality of life. This is the reason why patients diagnosed with cancer should take care of their mouth and teeth before, during and after cancer treatment. In this article we will focus on radiation side effects on patients’ oral health.
Patients with cancer who are recommended radiotherapy will experience some oral complications. These complications have various forms and degrees, depending on the individual and the cancer treatment. Some problems go away after treatment but others last a long time.
Both head and neck radiation are used to kill cancer cells. But this process can also harm normal cells, including cells in the mouth. Side effects include problems with your teeth and gums, glands that make saliva and jaw bones. The side effects can hurt and make it hard to eat, talk and swallow. During radiotherapy you are more likely to get an infection, which can be very dangerous.
Patients with radiotherapy may experience:
The answer is certainly “yes”. You should visit your dentist at least 2 weeks before starting your radiation therapy. Your dentist will examine your teeth and mouth and do any needed dental work to make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible. If you cannot go to the dentist before the treatment stars, schedule a visit soon after the treatment begins.
Also check your mouth every day to notice if you observe mouth sores or infection.
Some tips if you experience a severely dry mouth:
As a conclusion, radiation therapy has a lot of side effects on your overall and oral health. This is why your dentist should talk to your radiotherapy doctor before giving you any dental treatment. If you are a cancer patient who had radiotherapy, call us to make an appointment. 610.647.7611 is our phone number. Dr. Arhiri is here to answer your questions and to do you an examination.