Dental oncology is a focus of dentistry dedicated to meeting the unique dental and oral health care needs that arise as a result of cancer therapy. It is an area of oral medicine devoted to improving the well-being and quality of life of people battling cancer. Dental oncology goes beyond the scope of general dental treatment to include management of the soft tissues of the mouth and care for oral side effects specific to cancer therapy.
Teeth and gums can be a source of infection during or after radiation therapy. These infections can spread quickly into the jaws, creating pain and unnecessary delays in treatment. It is important to always begin with a dental evaluation to have fluoride trays made, necessary extractions completed, and for the patient to begin on a regular scheduled follow up for general dental care. Your first visit should be prior to radiation treatment.
It is common for mouth sores or dry mouth to develop after radiation to the head and neck. This environment can lead to increased cavities, broken teeth, or even jaw infections. We are specially trained to manage these conditions, and can help you to feel better.
It is important to prepare ahead for the post-surgery dental plan. After head and neck surgery, patients want to start eating as quickly as possible. That is difficult to do without teeth. There are various options to replace teeth and parts of jaws using Maxillofacial Prosthetics. For some patients, a stable and functional Maxillofacial Prosthetic can avoid more surgery, and it’s easier to monitor the wounds for cancer surveillance. We can work with a maxillofacial prosthodontist to maximize your results.
After surgical reconstruction with either bone grafting or free flaps, dental implants are often needed in order for dentures to fit again. They act as an attachment site for the dentures to clip onto. They will help you chew and eat normal foods again.