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Cancer Patients & Dental Care Needs

Dr. Lichtenstein and his staff understand that cancer patients have different needs when it comes to dental care. Whether you are about to begin cancer treatment, are going through it now, or have finished treatment, your dental health needs special attention and qualified care. Not all dentists can provide the service that those battling cancer deserve, but Dr. Lichtenstein can.

Numerous hospitals, medical centers, and individual cancer/oncology practitioners require a written “clean bill of dental health” before a cancer patient’s treatment is initiated. A “cleaned-up mouth” and clearance from a restorative dentist reduces and helps to avoid the problems of mouth abscesses and infections during the course of cancer treatment.

Chemotherapy and radiation can result in “dry mouth”, which can predispose cancer patients to cavities and decay, especially if normal oral hygiene is delayed or neglected. Currently, some of the newest forms of chemotherapy the ‘Biphosphonates’ (IV Aredia and Zometa) can lead to a unique mouth problem known as “BRON” (Biphosphonate Related Osteo-Necrosis). This means areas of bone in the upper and lower jawbones that degenerate and result in nonvital bone (“necrosis”). This necrotic area may not heal normally, or often not at all.

Before your cancer treatment begins, dental care options from Dr. Lichtenstein include a thorough clinical examination (teeth, roots, gums, bone and a head/neck regional soft tissue exam); appropriate x-rays (to uncover hidden problems, decay, or infection), a discussion on the most beneficial oral hygiene regimen, and a treatment plan to address current or potential problems a cancer patient may face.

Ideally, you should have no gingivitis or periodontal diseases (“gum diseases”), no abscessed or infected teeth, and any deep decay should be treated well before beginning your cancer treatment. If you are just starting cancer treatment, many dental care management options can be discussed. If you are “in the middle” of treatment, or have finished, often basic restorative and oral hygiene options are available.

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or visit our office in Holmdel, New Jersey to learn more about what we can do for you, no matter what stage of cancer treatment you are in. We will work with you to take care of your dental health throughout your treatment.