Chemotherapy and Your Head, Neck
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 dental oncologist 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 head, neck, and oral side effects associated with chemotherapy. Additionally, untreated conditions may result in your oncology team halting your chemotherapy until your 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.
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 begun chemotherapy but have not recently been examined, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment for an evaluation. 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 visit with Dr. Levi?
Dr. Levi will perform a comprehensive head and neck evaluation. 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 as well as the ideal deal time to perform any necessary treatment. Additionally, she will show you methods to reduce your risk for developing chemotherapy-related head and neck side effects.