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Another dental question...

TracyLynn72's picture
TracyLynn72
Posts: 648
Joined: May 2013

 

 

When I was diagnosed with cancer, they knew immediately it was a BIG tumor and it was IN my lower left jaw.  I had a tooth on my lower right side that needed a root canal.  No one wanted to do it before surgery because I had to use the right side to eat and so we waited.  Well, after surgery, I still (of course) had to use my right side to eat and so nothing was done.  It never hurt or bothered me at all, so we went into rads.  Treatment ended on June 21.  Now for the last two days that tooth is hurting ALL THE TIME.  My rad onc won't release me yet to have a root canal.  Is that normal?  I know he said no to an extraction, which I understand...but no root canal either?  He's not an easy person to deal with (remember the whole PEG fiasco?) so I want the advice from y'all....the ones who have been there, done that.  I also have 4 cavities that I didn't have before rads.  Ugh!  My poor mouth has been through it! 

 

There is also a  broken tooth that my dentist wants pulled, but that's a story for another time.......

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3628
Joined: Mar 2012

Tracy....but I'm wondering if there is some way a dentist could temporarily pack it so at least it wouldn't hurt.  They put in an antibiotic swab or something like that, then put a temporary filling over it.  I can't believe the rad doc would think it's ok for you to get an infection in that tooth.....in your jaw....abcessed teeth are not only extremely painful, but they're dangerous too.  I'd think especially when your immune system is trying to make a come back.

Temporarily, try holding salt water on it.....salt draws infection, and it helps ease the pain.

p

PS....I tried whiskey one time for a tooth ache....worked great that night, but the next day I was in agony...LOL....didn't think you'd try that one....but sitting here I remembered that I saw that remedy in an old western...ha!

donfoo's picture
donfoo
Posts: 1165
Joined: Dec 2012

We all know we need clearance from the dentist that our mouths are in solid shape and able to take the beating from chemo and radiation. Thus I had two questionable teeth extracted rather than wait or get root canals beforehand, especially knowing how much damange the radiation can do to the teeth. 

There is that term for a dentist who treats cancer patients; you will probably do best to seek one out to figure out your best options. Maybe they will say no problem or maybe they will recommend a whole series of hyperbaric treatments. 

Good luck. I'm sure quite a few of us are interested in following the post-tx dental sagas. don

NelsonOng's picture
NelsonOng
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 2013

I had my left mandibular tumour surgery done (stage 4 on jan 24) with left jaw taken out along 

with 5 teeth. Now with reconstructed jaw from my left leg fibula, two teeth extracted b4 RT,

I completed my tratement of 33 RT and 3 cisplatin on 6/5/13. I did a follow updental appt on

13/6 which the dentist did a filling on my front crown. She was very careful as I just completed

my tratement about a month ago.  She does a great job and told me to continue to upkeep my

dental hygiene.  Well u may want to readdress yr issue wt yr RO again as I know toothache can

be very very painful. God Blessing Be On You.

Nelson

 

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1848
Joined: Jun 2012

Welcome Nelson, I was in the same situation as you & Tracy in Jan 2012. Left mandible and I also had fibula flap. Tracy, my surgeon said no major dental work for atleast 6 months post radiation but I think he was referring to my dental implants and extractions of the lower teeth that did not line up after my surgery. Within that 6 month time frame, I did have a root canal on an upper tooth without incident.  My specialist sent me to my regular dentist to have it done. He consulted with the surgeon and got the go ahead. The root canal was done before I did my hyperbaric treatments. If you need to go through that HBOT, it is not at all painful just time consuming. If memory serves me right, I was on antibiotics prior to the root canal. Good luck with yours.

NelsonOng's picture
NelsonOng
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 2013

Its good to hear that you also did a similar surgery like mine one year before me.

So I know who to look for when I have some uneasiness round my dissection neck area.

 

Tracy, I felt strongly you shud insist asking your RO to refer you  back to your dentist.

I also found that after nearly 4 mth post treatment, my gum has shrunk a little.  GBU.

 

Nelson

 

 

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

Talk to your Rads MD, and any others on your team their opinions, and why the delay. I know the fear is probably due to healing factors associated with treatment. But being a few months out, I would presume that your health is just as compromised of not doing anything and getting an infection.

What is the thought if you have to get HBO...?

I personally don't see where doing nothing (your rad MD's choice) is a healthy one...

JG

TracyLynn72's picture
TracyLynn72
Posts: 648
Joined: May 2013

My rad onc is just a pain.  I'm sorry to say that, but it's true.  He seems to think that HE is the only one who can make any decisions and HE is the only one who knows best.  He has decided to not return my dentist's call and is out of town for 2 weeks again (he did this to me before...the PEG incident...) so I have given the dentist the go ahead to speak to the other rad onc (I really like him) and he is going to make the decision.  I did tell MY onc this before he left town and he said ok.  Hopefully tomorrow, the "after hours" receptionist can get an antibiotic called out for me and Tuesday I'll get an appointment made.  Silly as this sounds...I've never had a root canal and I'm very nervous.  After all I've had done, you'd think I wouldn't be worried, but I am a big chicken sometimes :)

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8058
Joined: Sep 2009

I hate dentist more than anythng..., well not dentist, just going to the dentist.

After all of the rads, I can't open my mouth quite far enough when getting work done in the back, so they stick a rubber plug in there to keep me open..., another hate, LOL.

 

Root canal isn't any more fun than anything else...

If you need surface work done, but don't have enough tooth, they either do just a crown (if you have healthy roots), or a root canal first, then a crown. The root canal leaves your exisiting roots, but they drill the nerves out. Leaving a dead support, but the usually put some pieces in to anchor it to your your jaw... I beleive.

But the roots are pretty deep, or can be...

So I can see the consern, but ignoring the problem is not the solution, and could lead to infection and other damage, not to mention the ride a long the way to recovery.

JG

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 1848
Joined: Jun 2012

Just recalled that the dentist felt the source of my problem was radiation damage to tooth nerve because there was no evidnece of decay. Having been through what you have, a root canal is nothing. Prior to cancer, I used to go on my lunch hour for root canals then back to work. Only ever had one give me trouble. My post tx root canal was without incidence. The relief from pain is worth it.

Good luck!

hlrowe
Posts: 23
Joined: Oct 2012

I had a root canal two weeks ago. Took out 3 nerves. Took 30 mins! I used an endodontist. $995.00 Frown

I would get it done if your tooth is killing you.

TracyLynn72's picture
TracyLynn72
Posts: 648
Joined: May 2013

I never thought I'd say those words.  I hate, hate, hate going to the dentist.  But, this new one I've been going to (she referred me to the oral surgeon that found my tumor last year) is awesome.  I left a message on the after hours line and she called me back within 5 minutes....on a Sunday evening.  She immediately called out an antibiotic and discussed who/when to call at my oncologist's office to get the ball rolling the fastest.  Of course the pharmacy was closed and isn't open for another hour...but she was very on top of things and said she wants me to go see her periodontist to get the work done and she's already faxed over all of my information to him.  She also has him waiting on me to get the 'all clear' so he can work me in ASAP!  Bless this woman!!

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1322
Joined: Aug 2010

I suggest you find a dentist that has experience with post radiaton experience

what ever you do in my opinion with experience, i would do everything i could not to have a tooth extrated. i have had several, the first was almost 4 years ago and now necrosis has showed it's ugly face. 

my dentist game plan for now is to have root canal's as needed, if the tooth contines to break down, cut it off near the gum line and mound over with filling. i had one like this done 4-5 years ago now and not one problems since. 

as far as the tooth that needs root canel, all involved should under stand having infection in tooth near jaw is the worst. time to get root canal done some way some how and have them put you an antibiotic. 

good luck

john 

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