CSN Login
Members Online: 12

Dental Concerns

Landranger25's picture
Landranger25
Posts: 207
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi all, I have a Dentist appointment this Friday and was wondering what kind of dental problems if any that any of you might of had from your treatment. My cancer was dicovered back in May by my Dental Hygenist during a routine cleaning and exam. (She found swollen lymph node on one side of my neck) This Friday will be my next 6 month check-up from that visit. I have read on some of the posts that people had to have teeth removed because of their treatments. I have tried to keep up with cleaning and using Biotene mouthwash but just wondered if anyone experienced increased decay or other problems since their treatment. Thanks in advance.

Mike

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 276
Joined: Apr 2006

I did find my teeth to get worse after treatment. Prior to treatment I never had a cavity or any decay to any of my teeth with the exception of one wisdom tooth where the rear molar was pushed up against it. All my wisdom and molars were pulled prior to radiation. Since then I have had a couple of teeth come out and one broke. From my understanding is that saliva has good bacteria in it that helps prevent tooth decay. So with the lack of saliva they decay faster. Frequent brushing, Fluoride treatments, and dental visits will limit the decay but it will be there. If I lose any more I might have to have a bridge made or a couple of implants so I can continue to eat.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I concur with Sash and would add the following: ask your dentist about a flouride tray as a regular part of your dental hygiene. I have heard, in fact, that you can purchase such trays at drugstores, not custom-fitted as your dentist might do, but for a fraction of the cause. Ask your dentist about that option as well.

In addition, I have discovered, and others on this board have reported from time to time, including Sash in his own response, that their teeth seem to 'break'. In my case, on occasion I extracted very small pieces of what I must assume was tooth bone from my mouth. My wife, in fact, recently noted that I should probably talk to my dentist about caps or some such, as my visible teeth seem to be chipped.

Further, at one point a PET scan indicated a false positive where, instead, there was a cavity in a tooth that I could not feel.

It is great that you are considering dental hygiene as the integral part of your well-being that it is. Do not skip that dentist visit! And do ask about additional options such as the tray. I have read only good things about it in this joint, and plan to get my own thing going with it soon (I went to one drugstore and tried to buy one, but they didn't sell them: they had replaced them with teeth-whitening trays :)).

Take care,

Joe

Landranger25's picture
Landranger25
Posts: 207
Joined: Nov 2009

I'll let you know how it goes on Friday. I have tried to brush and rinse through my whole treatment, even when chemo had my mouth feeling like the toothbrush was made of wire. I have noticed a few odd things like my upper and lower jaw not quite meshing like they used to. I also have a couple teeth that are now very sensitive to cold. I still have some old silver fillings from when I was kid and at one point during my radiation treatment the radiologist said that these fillings were deflecting the radiation onto the sides of my tongue and giving me a couple of really nasty burned areas. (Both sides of my tongue!) I will certainly ask about the flouride. Thanks again.

Mike

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

It is incredulous to me that a radiation doc would not insist in advance that you have a dental exam prior to treatment!

Before I went through my seven weeks of radiation, I had to see my dentist three times for cleanings and at least a couple of wisdom tooth removals. To allow you to go into radiation with fillings that 'deflected' the radiation and caused additional burning is unconscionable in my humble opinion.

No one should go into radiation therapy for head/neck cancer without first having a dentist examine their teeth, determining what needs to be done to eliminate the problems you describe, and then making those things happen prior to the first treatment.

I suppose there are dentists, too, who have no idea how to treat their patients who are about to receive radiation, and maybe that is the case here. In either case, someone slipped up, unless I am missing something.

Ouch.

Take care,

Joe

Landranger25's picture
Landranger25
Posts: 207
Joined: Nov 2009

I hear where you're coming from Joe but boy would I have been bummed to have to get those molars pulled that had the silver in them. As big a pain the radiation burning on the tongue was I would still rather have my own teeth. As for a dental exam prior to treatment, The hygenist at my Dentist office was the one who discovered my cancer so maybe the radiologist thought I had been to a dentist close enough to my treatment. (even though it was a normal dental exam and cleaning and had nothing to do with my radiation treatment) Anyways, always appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Mike

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

PREVIDENT 5000 is a prescription-level "sodium flouride" toothpaste my Periodontist prescribed for me, and which my regular Dr. had not even heard of, but is continuing the prescription. There is a cheap generic I get, now. Supposed to be good stuff- only use once/day, and Periodontist said it would be good to use long-term for me for my over-all mouth well-being.
My problem was not teeth- other than loss of tooth enamel, and a post-treatment need to get a root canal done. My problem was loss of gum tissue to the degree of bone below my teeth that used to be covered were exposed, and the cause of canker sores on both sides of my tongue. Radiation Dr. sent me to the Periodontist, who also ground-away the bone that was causing the greatest problem.

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I have heard of that one, Kent, but I was advised to use Biotene and Oasis products, both the toothpaste and the mouthwash in Biotene's case, probably because they also are meant to alleviate dry mouth and help prevent gum disease.

So far I have been lucky with respect to gum disease, and my surgery was in October of '05, followed closely thereafter by rad and chemo treatment.

For whatever that is worth.

Take care,

Joe

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1746
Joined: Nov 2009

Yeah, Jim, now that you mention it- there is a grainy taste to the generic by Cypress. Still a lotta burning when I use it, so I hadn't been able to exactly place the difference, but grainy it does seem. And, I just might try to find a Canadian pharmacy service that'll get me the Prevident cheap. Dry mouth and the little foamy saliva I get has me using the Biotene mouthwash, too- Periodontist said it's good stuff.
thanks
kcass

delnative's picture
delnative
Posts: 452
Joined: Aug 2009

I had a dentist who specializes in radiation-related dentistry assigned to me during my treatment at Johns Hopkins.
He told me I should use the trays and fluoride for the rest of my life.
I had Prevident while I was in treatment, but my prescription plan substituted a generic. It contains the same amount of fluoride, but it was really grainy and just felt crappy in my mouth.
I later learned that Prevident is NOT a prescription drug in Canada, which means they will ship it to people in the States with no scrip required. It sails right through Customs, too -- and, oddly, it's as cheap for me to order Prevident from Canada as it is to get the crappy generic on my prescription plan.
Anyone interested in it can order it at http://well.ca. They seem to have the best price.

--Jim in Delaware

denistd's picture
denistd
Posts: 488
Joined: Apr 2009

Check out having hyperbaric oxygen treatments before any dental work, it will amaze you.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network