Chemotherapy and Your Mouth
Chemotherapy not only affects cancer cells, but it also affects other rapidly dividing cells including those responsible for defending the immune system and the cells in the mouth.
Why should you consider visiting a dentist if you are going to receive chemotherapy?
Cancer therapy is multidisciplinary, and a dental oncologist is a crucial member of the oncology team. Visiting a dental oncologist prior to undergoing chemotherapy may help to prevent you from developing the oral and dental side effects associated with chemotherapy. Additionally, untreated oral conditions may result in your oncology team halting your chemotherapy until your oral conditions are treated. It is important to note that, although it is ideal to visit a dental oncologist before undergoing chemotherapy, it is never too late to visit a dental oncologist.
If you are already undergoing chemotherapy and have not recently been examined by a dentist, it is recommended that you schedule a dental appointment. Although some oral conditions may be unavoidable, visiting a dental oncologist will help prevent you from developing oral-related side effects.
What oral and dental side effects are associated with chemotherapy?
Painful gums and painful mouth
When should you schedule your dental visit?
Ideally, it is best to visit Dr. Levi prior to starting chemotherapy; however, it is never too late to visit a dental oncologist. If you have already began chemotherapy but have not recently been examined by a dentist, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment for a dental evaluation with Dr. Levi. Additionally, it is important to visit your dental oncologist while undergoing chemotherapy and to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene will help minimize your risk of developing some of the common oral side effects associated with chemotherapy.
What will happen at the first dental visit with Dr. Levi?
Dr. Levi will perform a comprehensive examination and evaluate your mouth. She will review with you any necessary procedures that may need to be performed prior to undergoing chemotherapy. She will speak with your oncologist about your cancer therapy schedule and treatment plan to discuss your oral needs as well as the ideal deal time to perform any necessary treatment. If you are currently undergoing chemotherapy, Dr. Levi will speak with your oncology team about your oral conditions and discuss the ideal time to perform any oral care that you may need. Additionally, she will show you how to prevent developing chemotherapy related oral side effects.