If you’re concerned about the effect of cancer on your oral health, there are some preventive actions that you can take as well as solutions to some common problems that could occur. One of the most important steps for you is communication with both your oncologist and dentist. You want to let your oncologist know about any dental work you’ve scheduled, and update your dentist about your cancer treatment. These conversations will help in maintaining the best dental health possible during your cancer treatment.
Dr. Sant Chawla and Dr. K. Kumar Sankhala of the Sarcoma Oncology Center are some of the most experienced oncologists specializing in chemotherapy. They understand that cancer treatment is both physically and emotionally challenging, yet they encourage their patients not to ignore other important aspects of their lives. It is advised patients to maintain as normal a life as possible during treatment including maintaining good dental health.
Some chemotherapies can come with specific side effects, such as mouth sores (mucositis). There has been development and newer medications which prevent and treat these side effects and doesn’t let it effect the quality of life and nutritional status.
Before You Have Treatment
Before you start treatment, you’ll want to speak with your oncologist about the effects of treatment on your dental health and schedule any extensive dental work either prior to or after cancer treatment. If you have an oral infection, tell your oncologist. You might need to have the problem resolved first.
You don’t want your cancer treatment disrupted due to an oral health issue. Doctors at Sarcoma Oncology Center advise their patients that once they start treatment, it’s critically important to maintain a schedule, otherwise the chemotherapy’s effectiveness could be affected.
When you talk with your oncologist about dental health, consider asking the following questions:
- What does my dentist need to know?
- How does treatment affect dental health?
- Are there any dental procedures to avoid?
- When is a good time to schedule dental procedures?
- How can I maintain good dental health?
Then schedule a dental appointment for a check-up and update your dentist about your upcoming cancer treatment. You’ll have this important detail handled so all you will need to do is focus on your recovery.
During Your Treatment
You might experience some common side effects with chemotherapy, but there are simple solutions to follow which can help you:
- Dry mouth – get relief by using mouth rinse or artificial saliva and drinking water
- Mouth sores – rinse often and apply topical treatment
- Gum disease – use fluoride toothpaste and oral rinse for prevention; in cases of gum disease, anti-inflammatory or steroid rinse may be needed
- Infection – avoid with regular brushing and flossing; see dentist immediately if infection develops
- Stiff jaw – see your doctor for treatment options
Prior to a dental appointment, you want to check with your medical doctor first. If you are taking medicine that could affect a dental procedure, you might have to delay treatment or ask your dentist if an alternate method could be performed.
The Sarcoma Oncology Center
The oncology team at the Sarcoma Oncology Center are leaders in sarcoma diagnosis and treatment. They work as a team with medical experts from prestigious medical institutions applying an integrative approach for a comprehensive treatment plan. If you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with cancer, call 310-552-9999 for a consultation with one of our specialists.