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More Dental Stuff

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1216
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Folks,

I've been following Sheilarhc's post on dental implants. I know prior to treatment I had to be cleared by my dentist. I had one tooth removed and a cavity filled as well as a thorough cleaning. My dentist recommended using a childrens fluoride rinse (Listerine) as opposed to trays. I rinse with it twice a day (am & pm). It has a pleasent taste and no burn. I found it difficult to maintain a normal schedule of brushing and rinsing due to the side effects but I managed to at least brush a minimum of once a day and rinse. While I don't have perfectly healthy teeth, my dentist said that mine were in pretty good shape and should fair well. The only side effect I feel is a sensitivity to cold liquids. 

Reading through this and other H&N cancer forums I've noticed that dental issues are prevelent for many. It also seems to be more prevelent for those that had radiation more than 5 years ago. In other words, it appears that those that received external beam therapy as opposed to IMRT have more dental issues. I may be fortunate and not experience any issues but it seems most everyone does to some extent. 

Thus my questions....

For those experiencing dental issues, what type of radiation therapy did you receive? How many treatments did you have? How were your teeth prior? Did you use fluoride treatments/trays/rinse? How long was it until you started noticing issues? 

I want to get an idea of what I should be looking out for in the future.


Positive thoughts and prayers,


Posts: 13
Joined: May 2013


Took my brother to the oral surgeon today to have his wosdom teeth evaluated pre-rad.  Thanks to all of you I was informed and felt more confident in encouraging my brother to have them removed.  Dentist thought they should come out, rad onc doc wishy-washy, the oral surgeon he had talked to said not necessary.  This women clearly felt it was indicated to pull them.  And did just that so not to delay his rad any longer then necessary.

She spoke to me regarding post rad issues she sees.  She definately sees a fair share of issues.  Many times she says due to pts not being diligent and/or forgetting to do all the things to protect them during and after treatment.  She strongly advocates for flouride trays and rinses and frequent mouth care.  She really reinterated not to forget this after the treatments are over and the cancer is gone! 

She did say that there are still cases of those who do everything they are supposed to and are faced with issues.  She said even needing/deciding for dentures is an issue post rad....the blood supply to the gums is not the same any longer. 

Hope this helps...



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