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Dental Radiation Therapy Care

Before treatment begins

Schedule a routine check-up with your dentist to determine the condition of your teeth. If you must have any pulled, have this done before your radiation therapy to allow for proper healing of your gums. If any teeth are removed before radiation therapy begins, we require approximately two weeks healing time.  Good mouth care will help protect your mouth from infection and optimize your comfort level. Gargle four to five times a day using a mixture of ¼ teaspoon baking soda in eight ounces of warm water.

Decreased saliva production

As a result of radiation therapy, your teeth can lead to being more likely to decay and more sensitive than usual. You will need daily fluoride treatments for the rest of your life. Follow your dentist's recommendation for type of fluoride treatment. You should not rinse your mouth, eat, or drink for 30 minutes after your fluoride treatment. Your saliva may return after ending your radiation treatments. If it does, your dentist may reduce your fluoride treatments to three times a week.

Dental care after treatment

You will need regular check-up visits to the dentist to maintain healthy teeth and gums and to watch for decay. If you must have a tooth pulled, do only one tooth at a time. You may need to take an antibiotic to prevent infection prior to the surgery. Ask your dentist to contact your radiation oncologist prior to having any teeth pulled.

Follow the guidelines for Preventing Dental Problems. Daily brushing and flossing. Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar. If you have dentures make sure they fit well and keep them clean by soaking or brushing daily.