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Has anyone had this side effect

CRMan
Posts: 9
Joined: Apr 2011

Hi, I am 15 months cancer free so far but still dealing with side effects. I went to the dentist to have my teeth checked and before chemo and radiation my teeth were near perfect, now I have severe receding gum lines and 4 cavities. He tells me this was caused by the chemo and radiation. Has anyone else experienced this? I know this is trivial to what some of the other side effects are but I never ever heard of such a thing. Thanks all...CRMan

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2972
Joined: Jan 2010

I can certainly relate to the receding gums, as I recently underwent gum grafting on 3 places in my mouth. However, my periodontist never said anything about this being due to the chemo and radiation (and he was aware of my history of cancer). Instead, he said it was most likely due to over-agressive brushing and bad brushing habits (brushing in the wrong direction). I am almost 3 1/2 years post-treatment. I wish I could remember exactly when my dentist began telling me my gums were receding--I don't know how long it was before my cancer diagnosis. I know that people who get radiation for head and neck cancers can have numerous dental problems following treatment. However, it's news to me that getting radiated in the down-under can have the same effect.

If you find that you need to have gum grafting, I will say that my experience was not that bad. I had donor tissue instead of having my own tissue taken from the roof of my mouth. The first couple of weeks were not without some pain, but it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. I wish you all the best with your dental issues.

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 503
Joined: Jun 2011

Hi - I had issues with my gums prior to having chemo and radiation, so I'm not sure my input will be of help to you. I've had a history of periodontal disease however it was under control, prior to being diagnosed with cancer, with cleanings every 3 months. (I had some gum surgery several years before, but since then it was being controlled with the cleanings.)

I didn't go back to the dentist right away after treatment - for a couple of reasons. One is that I knew my immune system was damaged and I didn't want to disrupt any germs that might be lurking there in my mouth. Don't know if that makes sense, but it was how I felt. The other thing was that I had just been through so much and was still seeing so many doctors (at least it felt like it!), I wasn't willing to add another medical-type appointment onto the list.

My dental problems had worsened over the year I avoided the cleanings. Also, with the weight loss from the treatments and stress, I believe my gums shrank and caused some receding of the gums.

Anyway, I'm now having dental implants put in. I'm in the middle of the process and hope to be very pleased with the result. Better be - it's SO expensive!

I wish you all the best. Perhaps if the weight loss contributed to your problem, the problem may improve over time? Just a thought.

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