Post-Radiation Treatment

South Bay Prosthodontics

Prosthodontists & Restorative Cosmetic Dentist located in Torrance, CA

After radiation treatment for head or neck cancer, your mouth undergoes a number of changes. MariaElena Rodriguez, DDS, and the team at South Bay Prosthodontics in Torrance, California, have a strong working relationship with the Torrance Memorial Oncology Department and regularly coordinate post-radiation oral treatment for men and women. Make your appointment today by calling the office.

Post-Radiation Treatment Q & A

Why is post-radiation oral treatment important?

After you finish radiation therapy, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene and visit South Bay Prosthodontics regularly. Radiation permanently affects your salivary glands and the soft tissues in your mouth, increasing your risk of cavities and infections. 

If you’ve had head, neck or throat cancer, it’s recommended you visit the dentist three-to-four times each year for a professional exam and cleaning. You should also invest in regular fluoride treatments to strengthen your teeth and eat a nutritious diet that’s low in sugar. 

Regular post-radiation dental appointments also play an important role in prevention. If your dentist detects an unusual growth or wound, they can alert your oncologist for further treatment.

Why is my mouth still dry after radiation treatment?

Radiation therapy permanently impacts your saliva production. In the weeks and months after treatment, your saliva flow will gradually increase, but it probably won’t return to normal. 

Understandably, this is frustrating. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to keep your mouth moist. The team at South Bay Prosthodontics recommends:

  • Carrying a water bottle
  • Staying hydrated
  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Limiting caffeine

If these practices don’t ease your symptoms, let your dentist know. The South Bay Prosthodontics team can recommend products specifically designed for dry mouth.

Will radiation treatment affect my dentures?

Radiation treatment impacts the health and sensitivity of your gums and tongue. If you wear dentures, this can lead to pain, swelling, and general discomfort. It’s tempting to have your dentures refitted right away, but it’s actually better to wait at least six months, so your mouth plenty of time to heal. 

If you lose teeth as a result of radiation treatment and want to restore your smile with dentures, you’ll also need to wait at least six months after your last treatment. 

What type of post-radiation treatment is right for me?

The type of post-radiation oral treatment you’ll most benefit from depends on your symptoms and unique health history. 

Following an oral exam, review of your medical records, and discussion of your symptoms, the team can develop a treatment plan that aligns with your needs. 

Radiation treatment takes a toll on your teeth and gums, but that shouldn’t prevent you from maintaining good oral hygiene. Partner with the team at South Bay Prosthodontics by calling today.