Resolving Tooth and Gum Issues with Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists
Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists noted that a recent 2011 issue of CURE Magazine discusses doctor advice to patients that they should resolve their tooth and gum issues before they start any cancer treatment. Medical doctors indicate that problematic dentistry conditions need to be managed up front because management of these problems after cancer treatment is very limited. Additionally, depending upon the dental treatment needed, such as tooth extraction, the complication risk is so significant that not doing it prior to cancer treatment can lead to significant or serious difficulties after the fact. Your Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists will evaluate the best individual treatment for each patient. Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is an important problem that should be treated if possible before starting any cancer treatment. Depending upon the type and stage of the cancer, it may not allow total resolution of gum disease before starting cancer treatment. Periodontal disease can be a problem in the overall oral health and smiles of people who do not have cancer and should be treated when diagnosed.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), eliminating any pre-existing dental concerns or mucosal infections and then maintaining a good oral hygiene protocol before, during and after treatment can reduce the severity and frequency of oral complications from any cancer therapy. The NCI notes that there are an increasing number of studies that are giving more recognition to the importance of resolving a variety of dentistry issues prior to starting any cancer therapy. Proper dental care and hygiene can help mitigate problems that can occur during and after cancer therapy.
Dentistry Complications Prior to Cancer Treatment
The problems are varied and do not show up in all people being treated for cancer. Complications can be:
- Gums not healing properly after radiation
- Bone not healing properly after radiation
- Oral bacterial infections that can spread throughout the body
- Chemotherapy-induced immune suppression
- Severe dry mouth which accelerates tooth decay
- Taste dysfunction and problems chewing food
Damage to tiny blood vessels to the bone impeding proper bone growth
Because of these potential problems, any tooth extractions or invasive dental procedures in irradiated bones are likely to exhibit slow healing which can lead to pain and infections in some instances. Radiation therapy directed at salivary glands can be particularly problematic due to extreme dry mouth. There are medications to help alleviate dry mouth, but these usually rely on residual salivary gland function assuming that enough function still remains after treatment.
Dentistry procedures such as extractions prior to radiation are based upon the health of the teeth, the surrounding gums, and the bone around the teeth. Additionally, the amount of radiation to be used and the area to be treated are considered. Gum disease is a particular problem and is a cause for tooth extraction prior to radiation therapy. Other problems that indicate extraction prior to radiation therapy are root canals, tooth fractures and broken fillings that cannot be adequately restored. Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists are able to help with gum problems.
Cancer Relationships to Periodontal Disease
When treating cancer, you cannot dismiss oral health because it affects your health systemically according to Dennis Abbott DDS. This is not surprising, as we Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists have reported previously about some of the problems associated with gum disease and overall health. Some of the problems that exist with periodontal disease are its relationship to heart disease and stroke and the possible relationship to some types of cancer such as breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. It is important that all people maintain excellent gum help to prevent future complications with other disease problems.