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Problems with teeth after chemo

Nerina's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012

Has anyone had problems with their teeth after chemo? I had my 1st lot of chemo in 1996 and noticed alot more decay etc. I've had pretty good teeth till then and now have a full top plate and partial bottom..so to be full plate ...which I hate.

Oneshot's picture
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

You seemed to have been able to hold out longer than I did. A year after my last chemo (2008). I had them all pulled out and went the denture route. My teeth turned various different shades of colors, chip, crack and what dental work I had done some years before just came off. I couldn't prove positively and the doctors wouldn't say it was the chemo that caused it. It was very embarrassing. The dentist(s) all wanted to do root canals on most every tooth in my mouth or implants. I just said "Yank them all out!"

Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2012

Hi Nerina,
I had perfect teeth before chemo, and now I can't get out of the dentists office without them (and I've worked VERY hard to find a dentist that won't try to do work before it is too late) needing to do at least one or two teeth :(. I am only 30, and it is terrifying for me to think of life in another 5 to ten years. I worry I won't have any more tooth left to drill. I have found changing my diet helps, and there is a new product MI paste that i sleep with in a detail tray--these things have really helped to fend off extra dental work.

Good luck!

Posts: 48
Joined: May 2011

I have had 27 Chemo treatments and during that period my teeth deteriorated badly. After discussion with Onc and dentist we came to the conclusion it was the Predizone I was taking also. We cut the Predizone in half and hope it will do some good. The dentist also gave me a toothpaste called Clinpro 5000 which is high in Floride. Maybe these actions will stop some of the problems. Can't afford to have all new dentures.

Posts: 39
Joined: Nov 2011

I have had some problems with teeth too related to chemo. But I think I never lost my baby teeth or it is just cancer growing under were the old ones were I just dont know. But a sharp thing that feels like a tooth is growing were the gum is.

Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 2012


This could be a tooth or bone fragment. It is very common for a piece of the tooth or the bone where the tooth was attached to remain after extractions and then, even years later, work its way out through the gums. See a dentist, they can take an x-ray, to see what it is and then can remove it for your or let you know if it is ok to let it work its own way out. Most dentists would have told you previously if you still had unerupted teeth present in your previous dental x-rays, so it is likely not a new tooth, but a piece of one or a piece of bone. You should get it checked out.

Posts: 39
Joined: Nov 2011

I have another set of wisdom teeth like the last time this happened. I lost my wisdom teeth before they fell out on there own. Then the next set was extracted then this set well I don’t know what I am going to do.

Posts: 65
Joined: Mar 2012

Hello all, my husband is a dentist and I have worked in the dental field as an assistant and office manager for over 20 years. Since most patients going through chemo are also on medications it is hard to say the exact cause of the problems and may in some cases be a combination. But, the one that is certain if anything you are doing or receiving is causing your mouth to be dry, your decay rate will sky rocket. For this problem there are things you can take or do to improve the dry mouth and lessen decay. There are way more options today with pastes, rinses and different types of floride for trays, etc. That can help to eliviate dry mouth and strenghten the enamel in your teeth. Another factor that has been increasing decay problems for a lot of people is that everyone is drinking bottled water instead of tap - tap water in many areas has had fluoride added to it, bottled water doesn't! Be persistant with your dentist, give him as much information as you can about changes in your mouth, diet, and treatments - he/she should be able to find something that will help you, if not, get another opinion. Things are constently changing and not all dentists keep up on everything, so if you are not finding help, try another office!

Hope this helps!

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2015

I realize this is WAY late - just found this site and have to blame my desire to ignore any problems resulting from chemo as my life is now "more normal" following the double mastectomy a few years ago, which was 15 yeasrs after my chemo and other treatments.   I lost most of my teeth very quickly after the chemo - with my Onc confimring that it was "not unlikely" wiht the type of chemo taken in 1995/96 - the chemo that killed (most of) the breast cancer for which I received treatment.  My bones were brittle - aged unbelievably, after having had "strong bones" and "great teeth" all my life!   My age had doubled!!   Arghhhh.   But I was (almost) cancer free....     I started taking Fosamax - then Actonel - and have continued with both ever since.

As my teeth fell out, dentists tried to save what they could - finally we all gave up - the remaining 5 teeth were pulled and 2 posts inserted.  I've worn my dentrues for years - thankful to havre survived.   

I'm now told that my jaw bone has disintegrated - very quickly, as it turns out, in the past few years.   A result of chemo?  well, at the very least, definitely a direct result of the osteoporosis caused by the chemo - the bones in the rest of my body are sronger than they were in the laste 90's.... doctor has told me to remain on Actonel.   Hoewver, now my jaw requires massive work to maintain ANY ability to continue eating.  I'm much too young to never be able to eat again - and too old to work another 40 years to pay for the $70,000 required to pay for the work!!!   


HOW does anyone survive this cost?  and still eat?  Look good - feel better ... yes, I do want that.  But I had so hoped, after having to str tmy life all over again in 1998, that I was finally getting to the point of being able to have enough financial security to consider retiring in another 2 years.  But I have to have teeth - and it seems NO ONE is covering costs!!!???   No recognition that so many of us, it seems have lost teeth as a result of chemo and/or radiation given during tests and work to help overcome cancer - treatments that have such long-term effects that no insurance plan or government assistance is available.   It seems wrong that we are left to our own devices... how do others cope??


NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2888
Joined: Mar 2013

Caitlynd, I am sorry you have had to find this site and having so many problems.  I cannot offer any help, but have heard others having problems with their teeth post-treatment and am beginning to wonder if the issues popping up are age or chemo related myself??? 

Hopefully someone can help, but I wanted to reply and say hello.

shadow01's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2008

I was told that between the extremely harsh chemo and whole-brain/max-dose radiation therapy that I would have problems with my teeth.  That was 2006--7.  I have one tooth (a molar) that first opened up on the inside (constantly cutting my tongue until I literally took a clean file---hardware store kind of file---and filed it down until it wasn't sharp.  The front side of that tooth is now gone, too, so it's a V.  Both parts of it hurt like mad sometimes when I chew on that side, and yet, they're not loose enough to pull out comfortably (and I've already had enough pain for a dozen lifetimes from one chem, so I have no desire to inflict more of it on  myself).

As for the lack of coverage, I'm right there with you on that one.  If I could have seen a dentist (Social Security Disability, no money, only use cash/debit card so no credit), it would probably be much different now, but, at least here, there's a steep charge for your first visit, then more steep charges for the exam, and more steep charges even just to pull a tooth ... getting it fixed would have been insanely expensive.  But....  Medicare doesn't cover dental.  The plan dentists offer rejected me (again, no credit ... not good credit, not bad credit, no credit).  The only thing I got out of all of those calls I made was the idea to buy the file and file the tooth to remove the sharp edge that was cutting my tongue (the receptionist I talked to on the phone said that's what the dentist would probably do, so that's what I did).

On a related issue, I'm on Social (IN)Security Disability, and am trying to find out what's being done (if anything) to save it.  But all I ever hear about is the abuse of it by people who can work but don't want to.  It seems like those of us who are on it for legitimate medical reasons have been completely forgotten.  Same issue with dental help for us after chemo/radiation.  They tell us we will have problems, but that's the end of it.  Sorry...I'm just very frustrated about all of this right now, and one of the three brain tumors I had is seriously messing with my typing right now, making me back up to correct almost every word (the tumor was one of the two 1cm tumors on opposite sides of the front of my head, where, after some research on my own, I stumbled on information about a tiny part of the brain, right where the tumor was, that handles things like writing, typing, etc....but thanks to chemobrain, I forgot to write it down or bookmark it).  Sigh....


EDIT:  I forgot to add, I have lots of sensitive teeth, and have to use the "sensitive" type toothpaste and mouthwash.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2018

It's past time people started rising up against the system... the medical system of 'treat em and leave em' approach to wellness and medicine.  The get rid of the illness, by any means - no matter the side effects, and leave the cleanup to the ill fated patient.

It's unfair to the ill and 'ill informed' patient to be treated by someone they trust - without full disclosure - of what is coming their way, after such harsh 'healing methods?'

The treating professionals, and associations need to be held accountable for things they inflict on their patients --- MANY times knowingly of the side effects and dangers of.

A good example would be that of the American Dental Association - KNOWINGLY - FOR DECADES - that amalgam fillings are detrimental to the health of it's recipients.  Knowingly implanting these fillings all those years - only to leave the extraction to the patient should they learn of it's danger to their overall health - many times causal to cancer.  SHAME ON BIG BUSINESS - BIG PHARMA...  the costs for extraction are beyond what many can afford, leaving them to be affected for the rest of their lives.  

---  This alone is deserving of a class action suit.

Fed Up... in NY

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2017

i have lost almost all of my teeth due to chemo and have been fighting the dental and sometimes medical community.   My dentist who I went to for over 15yrs even wrote a letter stating my loss was not due to my dental but medical due to chemo.  The dentist don't know how to icp  code a claim for medical so I can't even get a claim my union can fight (which they have assured me they will). I'm at my wits end the lowest estimate I have gotten is out of my pocket $13000.+ which being retired is unreachable. I don't go out much any more and never smile. I have the medical insurance to pay for this but can't get a claim done. It has put my life in a deep depression, its bad enough I have some severe damage from the chemo, radiation and surgery I will live with until I die this is just unexceptable. Where is the American Cancer Society we need help after too.

Posts: 16
Joined: May 2010

Chemo in 2010. Slow progression to point where I had to do second mortgage to start dentures. My front tooth just cracked. Looks disgusting.

Ottawamarc1234's picture
Posts: 148
Joined: Feb 2018

New VERTIGO AND INSOMNIA Periods and brittle teeth post 9 mths treatment. Great!!. 


Need Dentist Bad.

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2020

I don't know if this is the correct place to ask this question, since most of you (unfortunately...I'm so sorry!!!) are experiencing tooth loss/decay...But - I'm just out of chemo and have suddenly started having extreme tooth sensitivity to cold. I can't put ice in drinks anymore, and even a bowl of cereal is excruciating. Has anyone else experienced this? Thank you.

Real Tar Heel
Posts: 214
Joined: Nov 2019

Depends on what kind of therapy you are receiving. The drug oxaliplatin will cause you to be very sensitive to cold. Any drugs like 5FU can cause problems with your nervous system. Also, check blood glucose levels. During chemo mine went up so high that I developed diabetes, had always had normal levels.  Anyway, the blood sugar levels also affect nervous system negatively.

NE girl
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2020

Sunnydays, I found I had extreme tooth sensitivity from using the baking soda/salt mouthwash to prevent mouth and tongue sores.  A while after I quit using that, my teeth were no longer sensitive.  Don't know if this applies to you, but was my experience.


Posts: 2
Joined: May 2021

My hair grew back about 8 months of last session of chemo, then a about a year later it starts falling......13 later became completly  bold from chemo scars and developed Alopecia

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