Radiotherapy recommended to treat head and neck cancer can adversely effect the teeth, underlying bone, gums, and other oral tissues. Prior to your visit, we will communicate with your radiation oncologist and get a detailed report with the anticipated amount and location of radiation. Teeth with a poor prognosis within the radiation field can interfere with treatment, and can pose a risk once radiation has concluded. During your exam, prognosis of each tooth will be assessed, and dental treatment can be safely sequenced and administered before your treatment begins.
Dr.'s Oyama and Kagawa are highly trained in the construction of appliances worn during treatment which will help maximize the effectiveness of the radiation being delivered to the field, and will minimize its harm to healthy tissues. The effects of radiation are long lasting even after treatment concludes, and teeth are often more susceptible to decay. Furthermore, certain procedures such as extractions can involve risk to the surrounding bone. Consultation about future dental treatment, fabrication of precisely fitting fluoride trays to help prevent future cavities, and emphasis on home care and hygiene can help optimize your oral health post treatment.
What Will your Pre-Radiation Exam Involve?
Prior to your exam, anticipated radiation fields and doses will be obtained from your radiation oncologist. A full set of digital radiographs will be taken, and each of your teeth with be clinically and radiographically assessed. Any necessary dental treatment of teeth with a poor prognosis will then be recommended. Impressions or molds may also be taken for fabrication of radiation appliances and fluoride carriers. Due to our experience in working with patients who have or will be undergoing radiation therapy, they are encouraged to seek consultation or treatment even after radiotherapy concludes.