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Teeth issues on chemo

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

Has anyone else experience problems with teeth during chemo?
It seems I have an impacted wisdom tooth that previously never caused any issues
that is now causing discomfort as well as the tooth next to it.

I have two more chemos to go. My 5th chemo was cancelled last week due to low platelet counts, my other counts are low, but the platelet was the deal breaker.

I am wondering if I need to stop and take care of this, my last chemo was 4 weeks ago, and then get back on the chemo.

I have read that teeth can very easily get infected while on chemo when counts drop, plus it does a number on teeth and can cause a lot of cavities, tooth breakage, even on previous root canals.

I use Biotene toothpaste and mouthrinse and floss and brush after every meal.

Songflower's picture
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

Your gums often get inflamed with chemo; it's a good idea during remissions to see the dentist and get your teeth cleaned. I would call the dentist and get seen; you could have a gum infection and need just a simple antibiotic to help. I would also call the Doctor too. You don't need an infection now.

Let us know how it goes.


Lisa 00
Posts: 134
Joined: Jul 2009

Is it a lower wisdom tooth?

Sometimes those teeth can be erupted through the bone and lie just under the gum tissue. If your dentist takes a periodontal probe, he may be able to probe rather far down because the wisdom tooth is partially erupted but still way down there.

Anyway, bacteria and such will be down there in what amounts to a deep periodontal pocket.

Perhaps you should call both your oncologist and a dentist and tell them that you think you might have an infected wisdom tooth?

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I found that our teeth are "challenged" during our treatments. I did have an issue with one tooth, and my oncol doc suggested I wait until I was at a certain point in treatments. He was talking about any work on the teeth outside of simple cleaning, needs to be done when our numbers are strong...sorry but can't remember when the window of opportunity was at that time.

Ask your oncol before doing any dental work.

Good luck and hope you get it all worked out sooner vs. later!!

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

My dentist looked at it and felt I should wait until chemos are done.
I also saw the oral surgeon, and he said it does not look infected but he can't guarantee that it won't get infected. He said if it gets infected to have oncologist put me on antibiotic. Of course since my white counts just can't seem to recover an infection would be the last thing I would need. The oral surgeon said to make sure I get the toothbrush all the way back there-it is partially out now. I am not sure if this occured during chemo or before. I asked if there are any presscrption rinses and there is one but he said it turns your teeth brown, and since it is not infected now, he would not want to give to me.

All of my counts are pretty low. Hemaglobin is 9, platelets 69,000, WBC 2.0 and neutrophils 1.5---so it wouldn't be an ideal time to do.

It is the upper wisdom tooth-I actually have the two left on top, bottom I had out in the past.

I had another tooth issue earlier in treatment-an infected tooth that needed a root canal, and they kept me on penicillin for 7 weeks, and allowed me to do root canal during radiation portion of treatment.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2010

I had my first chemo almost three weeks ago and last week started having major pain in my teeth. I called my oncologist twice and was told to take motrin. It did not help I went to my dentist at my oncologists request and the dentist says there is nothing wrong with my teeth. My oncologist has never heard of chemo causing tooth pain.Thank God yur post is here because I was starting to think that I was crazy on top of everything else I get to go through. I just had my surgery on the 13th of sept. and my next chemo is scheduled for this monday coming up. I hope i don"t have more pain with it.

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

Hi there.

I have read a lot of things online that dental issues are very common with chemo. I read a number of posts about people having problems with previous root canals or wisdom teeth flaring up during chemo. My mouth has been very sensitive with chemo-I just finished my 5th chemo last week.

I am using biotene toothpaste and biotene mouthrinse which is recommended for chemo patients.

The more chemos I have had, my mouth tissues are also more sensitive to acidic things -I used to be able to have cinnamon, and just this week a couple minutes after having some on applesauce it gave me some kind of swelling or mouth sore-so I won't be having that anymore.

Best of luck with your next chemo.

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