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My Dental Issues

GRAVEY's picture
Posts: 83
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi everyone,

I had a dental visit today. I have been having very throbbing pain in my lower(especially back) teeth. They are also uber sensitive to hot and cold. I am taking about 6 extra strength tylenol at this point, 2 in the morning, 2 after work, 2 before bed to keep the pain down. Anyways, I thought it was rad related. I had a checkup before my treatments started, no pulling or surgery necessary, made it through my entire treatments, no teeth issues, its now 3 months post last rad treatment and NOW i have teeth pain issues, so my dentist, upon examination, believes I am grinding my teeth at night due to stress. I am on board with it. I at first thought I was possibly experiencing damage from the radiation, or maybe the blood was trying to return to the damaged areas, but Im pretty sure the grinding thing is my issue, Im going to be getting molds done on the 21st, I will first use a football mouthpiece type thing for the first to see if it makes a difference, it will cushion my bottoms, if it does work, I will move to an upper mouthpiece that "snaps on" dont know what that means, but that will keep my back teeth from touching at night.
Looking forward to it, my teeth are killing me.
Just thought Id share to maybe give some others insight on what they might be going through.........

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

As it happens, I visited my dentist today. In my case, now a bit more than four years since surgery and treatment (rads and chemo), the dentist advised that the damage to my teeth might very well be the result of the rads.

There has been some minor chipping all along and, frankly, I was concerned because of the increased sensitivity of late to sweets and cold that they would tell me I needed all of my teeth removed.

Instead, I will go for a panoramic xray (mouth doesn't open quite enough, still, for the routine kind) and have some work done, fillings I guess, to cover the chipped areas.

I am not unfamiliar with the grinding, though, and went through a bit of that myself for awhile.

Incidentally, my dentist advised returning to the biotene toothpaste and mouthwash even though we both agree I have what seems like a much moister mouth than in past visits, and he also prescribed something called PreviDent 5000 Plus. It is apparently a high-fluoride toothpaste that you use just before going to bed without rinsing it out (at least in my case).

This is an alternative, I suppose, to the fluoride trays that others speak of (?).

Good luck with the mouth guards.

Take care,

delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

That's what I use -- but I don't brush with it. I still use Biotene for my toothpaste.
Each night before bedtime I squirt a line of the Prevident in the upper and lower fluoride trays that were made for me, leave them in for 10 minutes and then spit the stuff out. My dental specialist said I'll have to do this the rest of my life.
My insurance company decided in its wisdom that it would only pay for a generic version of Prevident. That stuff was really grainy and unpleasant.
However, I found that you don't need a prescription for Prevident in Canada, unlike here in the States. Turns out I can order it from Canada and get it for roughly the same price -- maybe even a little cheaper -- than my prescription plan charged. Plus I get the brand-name stuff.
If anyone's interested, I buy mine from www.well.ca.

--Jim in Delaware

Posts: 33
Joined: Feb 2010

Although I wouldn't want to send you on a wild goose chase, I had throbbing pain in my back teeth on one side and then it escalated to pain in my ear and cheek generally - have been on really severe painkillers - the doctor said it is likely to be a neuragia - trigeminal neuralgia in my case as that is one of the nerves that got hit in the radiation. Do you have pain elsewhere? If you are also getting pain elsewhere on you face, but are putting it down to tooth ache, or your ear playing you up again (which I did for years) then do chat to your docotr about it as from what I have heard unneccesary dental work can make it ten times worse. The only sort of painkillers that work are ones that settle the nerve itself - I have been put on amnitriptiline and thankfully it has worked wonders. Sometimes it is a differetn cranial nerve and the pain comes in the tongue and teeth, but the treatment and cause s the same - scar tissue compressing a key nerve.

I do have some dammage to my teeth, where they are slowly but surely rotting on the front,but they are not actually painful, even before I got them treated.Although your problems may well be dental realted, it is worth checking out this neuralgia business as most people I know who have it say it started in their teeth first and they went to lots of dentists and had al sorts if unnecessary work done. (search for trigeminal neuralgia - typical and atypical types) and see if any of the symptoms are like what you are getting).

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

That's exactly what my Dentist office diagonosed the disintegration of my teeth as being, and fitted me for a guard I'm supposed to wear at night. Janymac has helped with my understanding this little side-road. Personally, I think the "grinding" thing is BS/just a convenient and med-friendly theory. Over the past couple months I've watched the gradual disappearance of the tops of my teeth, as well as tooth structure around teeth w/fillings. For my money: reckon this is part of the long-term side-effects of our treatment= all of our teeth took major hits, as did the saliva which is used to naturally clean said teeth. Could be the teeth just weren't made to withstand the ravages of chemo&rad zapping them like we've been zapped by the rads. Janymac forewarned me that my Dentist wouldn't have a clue as to the disintegration I can see, and she was right. I don't want to think there's collusion between the Dental community and C&R folks, but that wouldn't surprise me, either. Heck, I've watched as a couple of my frontal teeth have gotten so small, that I'm thinking they should be pulled- while there's still something to grab onto! That is the reality I am bearing witness to. Still...I continue to cast breath, as we all do. I accept this tooth destruction as a side-effect I continue to deal with, regardless of the opinion my Dentist tosses my way.

Like Jim, I use Prevident on a daily basis. Of note, I did have a post-treatment root canal, along with a minor bout with cranial nerve issues, but pain in my gums has not been an issue with me- in spite of the large loss of gum tissue. You have my hopes for improvement, Gravey- we all know the torment of toothaches/pain in our gums, and know it to be very miserable. I have been lucky with my gums, and posts like your's does help me to realize how much things could be much worse for me. Hopes and Prayers for you, Gravey.


GRAVEY's picture
Posts: 83
Joined: Jan 2010

Hey Kent, I got a call back from the dentist office today with how much the temporary guard was going to cost, 125 bucks, I politely told them that I would just go get the doctors night guard from the grocery store or 20 bucks, and if that worked, we'd move on from there, they had no problem with that. Ive gone to the same dentist since I was 7 years old, Im now 36, so I have no issue talking frankly to them. My dentist even dated my mom for a while, really nice guy. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

I dont have any pain anywhere else just those back bottom teeth, Im also switching to Aleve, seems to be pretty much the same as far as effectiveness but less harsh on the liver. I have also noticed pitting on those lower teeth which I really feel is related to grinding.

I'll keep you updated guys,


Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

The guard my dentist made a mold for, which I have, along with the plastic-like guard= $32. Co-workers have since told me I could have gotten one a Walmart for less money. $125, along with his diagnosis? Cannot see it. The pitting- exactly what I see, along with discoloration. Instead of whitish tooth enamel at the tops of the teeth- now recessed/piited areas with the former tops of the teeth obviously gone, and shorter teeth. Yes, Gravey, and please do keep us informed, as it is an issue some of us are dealing with. Best of luck.

And heed Jim's advice- I consider him the Authority on post-treatment Dental issues. He has helped me. And the soccerfreak/Joe- read his post. His tenure makes mine look like I've been on a short walk in the park, and we seem to agree on the reality of what happens to the teeth.


Posts: 26
Joined: May 2009

I also have a mouthguard that I wear at night to cut down on the grinding (which was causing headaches and jaw issues as well as causing a fracture in a tooth too). Stress causes me to grind more and the mouthguard has done wonders for the headaches and toothaches! I also use the Prevident prescription. I am supposed to use it in the fluoride trays and do most nights but if I get rushed on time, I brush with the Prevident and don’t rinse it.

As far as the mouthguard goes.. here’s a few tips. It helps to always rinse it out and even brush it in the AM (especially if you use the fluoride gel before you put the guard in since that stuff can harden like glue on the guard). Then before closing the guard up in an airtight type container like the dentist might give it to you in, take a second to dry it off. Moisture can lead to bacteria growing on it over time and the guard will turn a dingy gray color over time that doesn’t seem to be able to be cleaned no matter how much brushing of it you do. Once it’s dry, then it can be put in a case or put away.

Also, don’t be surprised in the morning if you don’t have to hunt for the guard in the bedsheets (or clear across the room as was my case – what did I do – fling it in my sleep?!) It may take several nights before getting used to keeping it in all night.
It really can help wth the pain though.

Here’s some additional info I posted before:
My husband is a dentist and he has done a great job of helping me keep on top of these teeth to delay any decay that can happen from lack of saliva. I have always been prone to cavities so my husband was especially worried without the saliva. ENT comments on at every appointment how remarkable my teeth are and they haven't shown any further decay in 5 years without saliva.

In the beginning I would use these flouride trays faithfully, every night (supposed to do it for 15 minutes but some nights would only do about 5). You put flouride paste (I used Prevident gel, prescription) in the tray and put it over your teeth. It's very similar to the bleaching trays you see people use. Don't rinse with any water after using the trays to allow the flouride to "sink in" and do its job.

Now, after treatments, I floss every night and still use flouride trays with Prevident gel in them for 10 minutes. If I am totally wiped out and can't think about staying awake another minute to do these trays, I will occasionally put a huge blob (more than I would use of regular toothpaste) of the Prevident gel on a toothbrush and brush (really good) with it instead of toothpaste. Never rinse with water after using the flouride trays/paste since it'll just wash off the flouride and does no good then. After meals during the day, if I am not at a place where I can stop to brush, I rinse with water, chew Orbit chewing gum (I use sweet mint flavor, less burn with it) for a minute or 2, then get rid of the gum. Then I use a "brush pick" and go between all the teeth. I keep these brush picks and the gum in my purse and in my car just in case I can't brush.

I get more frequent professional dental cleanings at hubby's office (every 3 months). He also has "varnished" my teeth with flouride varnish. They use it for little kids and it works great at preventing cavities, so even though I probably don't need it since I use the flouride trays, we give it the overkill and do the flouride varnish too.

Sideline on bleaching:
My husband also doesn't want me to use bleaching trays nor to bleach my teeth. He has seen some research showing that the bleach deprives the area of oxygen and cancer cells thrive when the oxygen is depleted in the mouth. So if there were some sneaky little cancer cell that managed to survive the radiation hell it was put through, he is afraid we'd help that nasty little cancer out by bleaching and it might come back so he doesn't want me to bleach.

Good luck with your dental issues and I hope it resolves!

CajunEagle's picture
Posts: 399
Joined: Oct 2009

I've been using Prevedent since the inception of treatment.......now brushing at least 3 times a day with a soft, soft brush. Been through with treatment (8 Cisplatnin..36 rads) for 10 months now, and have always been prescribed to use Colgate Gel-Kam in the teeth trays. I haven't seen that product talked about on here. It's good stuff, but has a somewhat sharp cinnamon taste. Been rinsing with water after use. Thank y'all for informing me not to do that.


Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

HI Guys,

I was given GC Mousse by my dentist to put on at night to help maintain / recalcify the teeth, esp the roots . I feel the base of my teeth do feel sensitive since treatment. I brush heaps and use Biotene mouthwash and gel as well.

Here is a blurb on the stuff.



Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Larry- thanks for the tip on the Colgate. Have been using Prevident once/day, and Crest Pro Health, but now may switch to the Colgate. Thank you.

And Scam- thanks, as always, for your info, and the link in your last post to this thread.



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