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Chemotherapy and Dental Treatment

I am proud to be part of an excpetional team and today, I have the pleasure of introducing Dr Vinay Mistry. Vinay has gained vast experience working in Hospitals and in particular treating cancer patients. He is now a valued member of the Infinity Dental Clinic team and here is his latest blog discussing how treatment for cancer influences dental health and dental care. – Dr Mohsin Patel

Here at Infinity Dental Clinic, we understand the importance of providing exceptional dental care for all of our patients, especially those enduring chemotherapy to treat cancer.

Sadly, given the statistic from Cancer Research UK that 1 in 2 people will develop cancer at some point during their lifetime, it is inevitable that we all know someone who is, or has been, treated with chemotherapy. During such a strenuous time experiencing this treatment, it is easy to forget about the significance of maintaining your oral health.

Chemotherapy can lead to profound side-effects such as a reduced number of blood cells, thinning or loss of hair, digestive troubles and a host of oral health problems. As well as the traditional form of chemotherapy, recent medical research and development has increased the availability and use of novel targeted chemotherapy drugs to try and reduce these detrimental side effects.

There are many subgroups of these newer chemotherapy drugs, and they can be used to treat common cancers such as colorectal, breast, leukaemia and multiple myeloma, to name but a few. Some of these medicines can also be used to treat non-cancerous conditions, for instance, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

oral fungal infection

Chemotherapy suppresses the organ responsible for producing blood cells, which leads to a weak immune system and therefore a heightened infection risk. This can cause a greater risk of tooth decay, oral fungal infections and inflammation of the inner mouth lining. There is a higher risk of bleeding gums, experiencing a dry mouth or altered taste, or potentially delayed/problematic healing after having teeth extracted. This is one example of the importance of understanding all prescribed medication a patient takes – past and present.

At Infinity Dental Clinic, we advise all patients to have a pre-chemotherapy dental assessment to identify any existing or potential oral disease. This might be to have infected teeth removed, poorly-fitting dentures replaced or crowns placed to protect heavily-filled or damaged teeth. We actively encourage all our patients to look after the health of their gums with regular scaling and debridement with our hygienist, whilst also ensuring maintenance protocols are put in place to prevent infection from developing in the future. Prevention is key, and our patients benefit even further seeing our hygienist for oral hygiene instructions; the provision of high fluoride toothpaste, mouth rinses and varnish; alongside dietary, alcohol and smoking cessation advice.

Being treated for cancer is always an extremely difficult time, but at Infinity Dental Clinic we understand the attention our patients need and put that at the forefront of the care we provide.

Thank you for reading,

Vinay Mistry BChD MJDF RCS (Eng)

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