Cancer treatment can be hard on the entire body. Not only does it attack the cancerous cells, but certain forms of treatment can also suppress your immune system and even attack your own healthy cells. While it may not be the first thing on your mind while you are undergoing cancer treatment, your teeth can face serious damage after treatment, and some reconstructive dentistry may be necessary.
How Treatment Can Harm Your Teeth
One of the most common symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy is dry mouth. Chemotherapy causes saliva to become thicker and more viscous while radiation therapy can actually damage the salivary glands. Dry mouth can increase your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. While not all cavities need to be filled, they can definitely cause major structural issues if left untreated which may require dental crowns to be fitted.
Some forms of cancer such as salivary gland cancer and mouth cancer require surgery in the mouth. In some cases removal of all or some of the teeth is necessary. Partial or full dentures, or even dental implants may be required in order to restore your smile.
Don’t Be Hasty
It is absolutely important that you have a clean bill of health before you undergo any cosmetic dentistry procedure. While healing is generally not a huge issue, a suppressed immune system can hinder the healing process for procedures such as dental implants, and may ultimately result in the implant being rejected.
Cancer patients who used radiation therapy should also consider alternatives to dental implants as they are at a higher risk for osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). ONJ is a condition where the bone dies around any source of trauma, including dental implants.
If you or a loved one has recently kicked cancer and are looking to revitalize your smile, contact our fantastic team at The Dental Excellence of Blue Bell. Dr. Siegel can help answer any questions that you may have and find a treatment that works for your individual needs. Give us a call at (610) 272-0828 to schedule an appointment today.