If you’re preparing to undergo radiation treatment for head or neck cancer, you’re probably wondering what to expect. At South Bay Prosthodontics in Torrance, California, Michelle Ikoma, DDS, MariaElena Rodriguez, DDS, and the team have a strong working relationship with the Torrance Memorial Oncology Department and regularly provide pre-radiation oral treatment for men and women. Request your appointment today by calling our office.
Oncologists often prescribe radiation treatments to manage cancers of the head, throat, and neck. During radiation treatment, targeted bursts of radiation pinpoint and destroy cancer cells, but unfortunately, some healthy cells are injured as well.
Radiation treatment also has long-term side effects on your oral health. One of the most common symptoms of radiation treatment is dry mouth.
Dry mouth is a direct result of radiation damage to your salivary glands and causes them to produce less saliva. Less saliva means oral bacteria can thrive in your mouth, increasing your risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Radiation also increases your risk of serious infections. Radiation treatment for neck or throat cancer decreases blood flow, which may result in trauma or a slow healing infection to the soft tissues in your mouth.
Radiation treatment increases your risk of oral health problems, so it’s important to take preventive measures. During pre-radiation oral treatment, your South Bay Prosthodontics provider performs an oral exam and reviews your medical history.
Your dentist uses this information to identify potential sources of irritation or infection and then develops a treatment plan to lower your risk of pain, discomfort or other complications.
The type of pre-radiation oral treatment you’ll need depends on whether or not you have cavities, gum disease or other oral health problems. Your South Bay Prosthodontics provider may recommend:
Your dentist also takes a series of oral X-rays to document the health and condition of your jawbone prior to radiation treatment.
Radiation treatment takes a toll on your physical and oral health. However, there are steps you can take to limit the unpleasant side effects of treatment.
The team at South Bay Prosthodontics recommends eating a healthy, nutritious diet, brushing and flossing daily, and applying fluoride gel to strengthen your teeth.
To learn more about the benefits of pre-radiation oral treatment, make an appointment at South Bay Prosthodontics today by calling.