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Your Dentist’s Role in Your Oral Cancer Treatment

Battling oral cancer is an uphill climb with so many things that could go wrong. That’s the very nature of treating anything using radiation; the radiation could kill the healthy cells along with the damaged ones. Regardless of whether the treatment is really able to send your cancer into remission or not, expect a number of side effects as triggered by the treatment.

The most important thing that a person suffering from oral cancer and undergoing radiation treatment must do is to consult his or her dentist. But what is the role of your dentist in your fight against cancer?

Your dentist should be informed a month before you start radiation therapy in order for severe oral problems to be prevented. Your dentist will perform a routine dental check-up on you and address any existing dental conditions which could flare up in the height of your treatment. Why is it important to prevent any kind of side effects? While it’s virtually impossible for your dentist to assure you, despite whatever preventive treatment you undergo such as getting fluoride rinses and sealants, that you won’t have any side-effect from the radiation therapy, a lesser number of complications will ensure that the schedule of your treatment will stay on track.

What will happen during that check-up before you undergo radiation therapy? Your dentist will, first and foremost, do a routine checking of your teeth in order to see if you have any cavities or signs of early gum disease, and then do a simple cleaning procedure. Depending upon the necessity, your dentist may also ask you to get a dental x-ray. This is especially so if you have been suffering from periodontitis, or severe inflammation of the gums, for quite some time already. After treating any existing dental condition you may have, your dentist will give you all the information you need in order for you to take care of your teeth properly.

Your dentist should also give you tips on how you can combat or prevent any onset of jaw stiffness by doing jaw exercises. One such kind of jaw exercise involves opening your mouth as far as you can and then closing it. This exercise should be done 20 times. Doing this exercise wards off any kind of jaw stiffness that could develop as a result of the radiation therapy. Jaw stiffness could make it difficult for an oral cancer sufferer from eating, swallowing and chewing.

Every time you go to the dentist’s office,  Make sure they do an oral Cancer Screening of your tongue, the roof of your mouth, your gums and the lymph nodes around your neck.  Simple routine checks can sometimes detect serious problems.

If you have any questions, contact us and we will be happy to address your concerns.

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