Solid Organ or Stem Cell Transplants
and Oral Care
Solid organ and hematopoeitic stem cell transplants may be associated with oral and dental side effects. To help your body accept the transplant, your oncology team will place you on certain immunsuppressive medications that will lower your immune system. These drugs will put you at an increased risk for developing infections, including oral infections. It is recommended that you visit a dentist before undergoing a transplant to reduce your risk of developing oral infections and other associated side effects.
What type of side effects are associated with solid organ and stem cell transplants?
Dry mouth and altered salivary flow which may increase your risk for developing dental decay (cavities)
Painful gums and painful mouth
Jaw stiffness and trismus (reduced mouth opening)
Oral graft verus host disease (GVHD)
Why visiting a dentist before receiving a solid organ or stem cell transplant is important:
An essential member of the oncology team, a dental oncologist is an important health care provider to visit prior to your stem cell transplant. Eliminating any sources of infection and ensuring that your mouth is healthy may help prevent the development of oral side effects associated with a stem cell or bone marrow transplant and/or may help reduce their severity.
Untreated oral conditions may result in your oncology team delaying your transplant until your oral conditions are treated.
Why visiting a dentist after receiving a solid organ or stem cell transplant is important:
Visiting your dentist after receiving a stem cell transplant is important to ensure that your mouth is healthy and free of infections. Dr. Levi will speak with your transplant team to determine the ideal time to schedule your first dental visit after your transplant.
What will occur at the pre-transplant dental visit?
Dr. Levi will perform a comprehensive oral examination evaluating your teeth and oral soft tissues. She will review with you any necessary dental procedures that may need to be performed prior to receiving a solid organ or stem cell transplant. She will speak with your transplant team about the timeline for your transplant schedule and treatment plan to discuss your dental needs as well as the ideal time to perform any necessary dental treatment. Additionally, she will show you how to prevent developing transplant related oral side effects and how to manage these side effects.
For more about stem cell or solid organ transplant related oral side effects, visit Dr. Levi's blog post on the oral side effects of solid organ and stem cell transplants.