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Dental Problems from Chemo.... Do You?

idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

Man.... I don't know about everybody else but chemo is destroying my teeth. Had a dentist appt. this morning and they took x-rays. Since starting chemo last July my teeth have decayed more than they have in my entire life...Literally. While off all chemo for Cyberknife I took time to get my teeth looked at. I immediately had to have 1 tooth pulled because it was beyond repair. This past Monday I had to have a root canal. I was suppose to start on maintenance chemo that day but was in too much pain from tooth. Went Tuesday for chemo but they could only give me the 5FU..no Avastin until mouth is healed. Today I went to dentist for final check up. Ended up I had to have ANOTHER root canal today so no Avastin this Monday either. Both teeth that had to have root canals also had Porcelin crowns that had to be replaced since the structure of the tooth changed. My insurance will only cover a new crown every 5 years per tooth. Ain't been 5 years since I first got them so that expense fell on me at $800.00 per tooth plus the cost of the root canals at $950.00 each. My dental insurance pays 100%...BUT... only $1500. per year and that was ate up in week one. My dentist called my insurance company and told them this should be an exception to the rule because this was cancer related and not no fault of my own that all this had to be done. NOPE.... No PROOF that chemo causes this.... NO documentation anywhere stating that as a fact...and thats true. Even tho we know that is the case...SOL. Ok... just beechin bout that...thanks for ears...feel better now...LOL... Love ya guys!!!


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I had beautiful teeth, but during chemo, I've never had such mouth pain in my life!!!!
I know I need probably 5 root canals, and 5 crowns. I will never understand how they feel that this tooth crap is NOT chemo related.
I guess if each of us keeps complaining to the onc's maybe they'll figure out the chemo does affect the teeth, and then someday for future generations, the teeth problem would be considered under the medical insurance.
Winter Marie

chicoturner's picture
Posts: 285
Joined: Apr 2009

Hi, I am still on chemo, but this last year I had 2 root canals and lots of work done. My dentist says it is the chemo. Fortunately my dentist worked closely with my onc. so it would be safe for me. I think I now have a mouth full of gold crowns. It guess it is my savings account! Best to you. Jean

sonja123's picture
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2010

I didnt have nearly the problems you had but I have noticed sensitive teeth and when I went for my dental visit the doc noticed the difference too. He advised me to use a good floride mouth wash multipule times a day and especially at night to help.

HollyID's picture
Posts: 951
Joined: Dec 2009


I've always had very straight white teeth. During chemo, they almost felt "loose" and like they were ready to fall out. I haven't noticed any tooth pain, but I really need to go. I have no dental insurance though, which is why I haven't. I just need to buck up and go. I am scared however, I'll have to have root canals, or crowns. I can't afford those now... I've got an onc to pay for!! :)

It really should fall under medical, shouldn't it? We all know it's caused by chemo. Even the dentists know it. It's not because we take such bad care of our teeth, but because the chemo takes it out on our teeth as well as every other cell in our bodies. :)

C Dixon
Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2010

But I am not sure how much it has to do with chemo. The filling in this tooth has reached it's life expectancy. I start radiation and Xeloda on Wednesday, so I've got to get it done.


Posts: 810
Joined: Nov 2009

Me too! Just had 3 root canals, and of course 3 crowns, and the fillings needed to be reworked in 3 other teeth. FYI, for those of you without dental insurance or low plan limits, there is a Chase Advantage medical card that is a credit card for medical only, and the first time you use it they run a promotion for no interest. I applied for and received this and had mos tof the work done at once to qualify for the no interest. Yes, I have a monthly payment but is sure beats trying to cough up thousands in cash as dentists are smarter these days, demanding the balance paid up front.


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maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi jennie....we oldsters here have often talked about this very topic and to tell truth have reached the same conclusion. People will tell you that chemo is not responsible but the evidence on this board would beg to differ.....

a lot of us agree that dental problems increased with chemo...I guess it doesn't really help but you are not alone.


Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

Sorry for all the tooth problems. So far I have pretty lucky that way, although I think I do have a few issues the dentist would work on if I weren't on chemo. I said to my dentist that I had heard chemo can be pretty tough on teeth. He said yes, but it won't happen to me for two reasons" 1)I am taking good care of my teeth + 2) he won't let it happen to me. I hope he is right. He has me on a special paste called "M1 Paste". He had trays made for my teeth + I am supposed to soak them for 10 minutes 2X per day with this paste. It is supposed to strengthen the teeth, + my dentist seems pretty happy with the results. It kind of "coats" the teeth, I think + contains calcium + phosphate. I also see him regularly, to see if everything is ok. I only do these things with my onc's blessing. Good luck!

nudgie's picture
Posts: 1482
Joined: Sep 2006

and done that. Since being off Chemo (2006), I have had several crowns, root canal and have to use a special toothpaste and mouthwash. I also had to take a flouride pill, but was allergic, so had to stop.

I continue to have problems, but will get repaired when necessary. Dental insurance is worse than health insurance.

C Dixon
Posts: 202
Joined: Jan 2010

And it wasn't that bad, I am happy to say. Well, the novacaine is still working..............Dental insurance is worse than medical. If I sat down and did the math, I'm not sure I'm come out ahead.

Back to the dentist to take my 17 year old to get a million fillings.....one day he will learn, I hope. Maybe this will do the trick.

I had my flu shot today as well.

Hope everyone has a great day.


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