Our physical health challenges often have a large effect on our oral and dental health as well.
With their extensive medical training, your caring Dakota Dental Apple Valley dentists, Dr. Shelley and Dr. Bennett, are knowledgeable and sensitive to the special needs and concerns of patients who have previously or are currently experiencing cancer treatment.
The dental and oral side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments can include:
* Inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes
* Painful mouth and gums
* An increase in the risk of developing oral and systemic infections
* Xerostomia (commonly called “dry mouth”), a condition in which saliva is thickened, reduced or absent
* Rampant tooth decay
* Burning, peeling or swelling tongue
* Stiffness in the jaw
* Impaired ability to eat, speak or swallow
* Change in ability to taste
* Poor diet because of problems with eating
Often times, patients will feel that they need to interrupt their important cancer treatments because of the discomfort to their teeth, gums, salivary glands and other oral tissues.
The helpful staff at Dakota Dental Clinic will work with the patient and oncologist to provide effective dental services that help to manage any oral side effects before, during and after cancer treatment to make the difficult process as comfortable as possible.
Some suggestions from your Apple Valley dentists include:
* When possible, visit your Dakota Dental Center for a thorough dental checkup at least two weeks before treatment begins. At this visit, you can update your medical history with Dr. Shelley and Dr. Bennett and provide them with the contact info for the physician who is handling your cancer treatment.
* During cancer treatment, continue to gently brush your teeth twice a day.
* Use fluoride toothpaste and look for products that display the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance.
* Patients who receive cancer treatment of the head and neck sometimes discover that they cannot tolerate the flavor of their regular toothpaste. If this happens, try another flavor that will not irritate mouth tissues.
* Continue to gently floss once a day. If the gums are sore or bleeding in places, avoid those areas but continue to floss other teeth until the condition improves.
* Dakota Dental Apple Valley Family Dentistry may recommend a mouth rinse in addition to daily brushing. You also may be advised to use fluoride gel at home to help reduce the likelihood of tooth decay.
* Rinse your mouth several times a day with a solution of baking soda and salt, followed by a plain water rinse. Use one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda and one-eighth teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. This is particularly helpful if you experience vomiting after cancer treatment.
* If xerostomia (dry mouth) develops, your Apple Valley dentists may recommend a saliva replacement, available at pharmacies. Taking frequent sips of water, sucking on ice chips or sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar free gum may provide relief.
* Eat a balanced diet. Soft, moist foods such as cooked cereals, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs are a good choice if your mouth is sore.
* Avoid using tobacco and alcohol and schedule regular appointments at your Dakota Dental Apple Valley Dental Clinic.
Going through a health crisis and treatment is a very challenging time in an individual’s life. The committed and caring staff at Dakota Dental Apple Valley Family Dentistry will provide you with professional dental services and support to help you in your recovery.