Oral healthcare and the cancer patient

Sandy Springs Dentist – A higher standard through healthcare well planned

Oral CancerManagement of a patient being treated for cancer, particularly where the cancer treatment is located near the head and neck should involve your oral healthcare provider, i.e. your dentist.  Unfortunately, there are very few published studies or guidelines on how to manage the cancer patient during therapy.  Accordingly, there is considerable variation across the medical community relative to specific non-medicated approaches to baseline oral care.

Oral-facial complications are common after radiotherapy to the head and neck, and after chemo-therapy for malignant diseases. Oral Mucositis, also called stomatitis is the most frequent and debilitating complication of cancer chemotherapy and radiotherapy, occurring in about 40% of patients. Oral mucositis is inflammation of the mucosa of the mouth which ranges from redness to severe ulceration. Symptoms of mucositis vary from pain and discomfort to an inability to tolerate food or fluids.[1]

All patients at risk should receive a standardized oral care regime as an ongoing component of their cancer therapy.  Additional interventions may include dental brushing with toothpaste, dental flossing, ice chips, and sodium bicarbonate rinses. These regimens typically include dental work to eliminate caries and existing gum disease before beginning cancer treatment, followed by thorough and frequent cleaning of the oral cavity with a variety of products, some form of pain relief, anti-inflammatory treatment as required and aggressive antimicrobial treatment for any new mouth infections.[2] Patient compliance with these agents can be maximized by comprehensive overseeing by the oral healthcare professional.

Get the facts, ask the Right Smile Center.  If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC.

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta, GA 30328

404-256-3620

info@rightsmilecenter.com

www.rightsmilecenter.com

[1] http://oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/pdf/mucositis.pdf

[2] Ibid.

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