Head and Neck Cancer Recovery & Rehabilitation
Patients who have experienced head and neck cancers often struggle to maintain their oral health.
Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most frequently used treatments, but each can have long-lasting side effects. Dental professionals have a real opportunity to help patients through their head and neck cancer recovery.
It is essential to take care of dental health before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In particular, radiation therapy can cause changes in the bone which may compromise healing following dental extractions. By removing any infected, decayed or compromised teeth before radiation, the dentist can help to minimize problems during and after head and neck cancer rehabilitation. If the salivary glands are affected by radiation, saliva (which protects the teeth from decay) will be reduced and dental decay can occur rapidly. We can provide the latest information on minimizing dental decay following head and neck radiation treatment.
At Restore Dental, we firmly believe in providing a holistic approach to head and neck cancer rehabilitation – we’re not just treating teeth but also caring for the patient’s whole person This is why our dental team will always take time to listen carefully to what your experience and goals as we agree an oral cancer rehabilitation plan.
If you are currently undergoing radiation treatment to the head and neck region or have done so recently, we provide comprehensive oral cancer rehabilitation advice to manage the oral side effects. Contact us today by emailing email@example.com or via our online form, and book an appointment to discuss your head and neck cancer recovery with Dr Robinson.
Replacement of Missing Teeth
If you have lost part of either jaw due to cancer, trauma or other surgery, we can work with your surgical team to plan and deliver the best possible oral cancer rehabilitation, helping to restore function, aesthetics and improve your quality of life. Conventional dentures, implant supported removable or fixed appliances may be used to replace your missing teeth.
Surgery to the upper jaw or palate can result in a defect between the oral and nasal cavities requiring either surgical or prosthodontic repair. If appropriate, we can provide an appliance (palatal obturator) before surgery that aims to seal the defect allowing you to speak and eat during the healing phase. This will often be replaced with a definitive appliance (palatal obturator) in 6-12 months, which recreates the mouth and nose seal, allowing you to eat and speak effectively.
Common oral health side effects caused by cancer treatments
Your teeth may become prone to decay as you might have more trouble producing saliva and its quality is reduced.
Radiation and chemotherapy treatment can cause damage to the mouth's cell linings, causing sores, ulcers, and bleeding. This usually lasts for a few weeks after the treatment is completed.
Bleeding gums may happen as the blood platelet count drops when undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.
When undergoing cancer treatment, oral thrush is more common.
If you are experiencing any of these problems, please get in touch with a dentist as soon as possible to work out a treatment plan.