Dental treatment & considerations before & after Radiation treatment

What considerations do I need to worry about with my teeth before radiation treatment?

Radiation treatment can cause dry mouth all the way to destroying the salivary glands in the mouth leaving very little saliva to bath the teeth and buffer the acids in the mouth. You should consult with your physician on where the radiation is and how much of the mouth salivary glands might be affected.

What are the oral side effects from radiation treatment?

Patients experience increased cavities, dry mouth and sore gums. Sometimes teeth cannot be extracted after having radiation treatment as the bone does not always heal properly.  This is more common on the lower arch.  It is often recommended to see an oral surgeon after your dentist has diagnosed your oral condition if a tooth needs to be removed.  If an extraction is not recommended, then sometimes a root canal is done to minimize infection.

What dental work should I have done before having radiation treatment?

Be sure to have a dental exam and full mouth x-rays prior to having any radiation treatment.  Our Stockton family general dentists will consult with your physician to evaluate the side effects after radiation treatment. Some patients have opted for full mouth extractions and dentures.  Many others can be managed with more frequent cleanings, good oral hygiene and special rinses and fluoride pastes to minimize dental caries. Some restorations or fillings are more cavity resistant than others.  We will discuss with you all your options and the risks, benefits and side effects of treatment or no treatment.

Can I have a beautiful smile after radiation treatment?

It is still possible to have a beautiful smile.  Your home care and diet are critical to the success of your dental restorations.

If I have to have teeth removed, what can I do to replace the teeth so I have a beautiful smile?

If all the teeth are removed then you can have a full upper and lower denture.  These can be customized with various shades of teeth from very white to a shaded depending on your desire and complexion. Also teeth can be porcelain or plastic and there are various types of denture teeth that look very natural.  Your Deer Park Dental dentist will evaluate if a full denture prothesis is necessary or a removable partial denture.  The removable partial denture clasps onto the remaining teeth for stability.  These clasps can be metal and strong or plastic and more flexible.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a full denture compared to a removable partial denture?

Full dentures generally be more esthetic because no clasps will show.  The right height of the denture is critical to speaking well, being able to chew properly as well as eliminating many of the wrinkles that one sees when a denture is not in place.  The denture is a replacement for the missing teeth and gums and bone. A removable partial denture that has metal clasps will be much more stable.  It can also be very esthetic.  If a lot of teeth are missing, then the clasps might show and be less esthetic. This type of removable partial denture is made of a lightweight and very strong metal base with gum colored plastic and natural looking teeth. This type of partial can be repaired and often a tooth added to it if one is lost.

Are their partial with no metal?

There is a type of partial called ValplastTM  that is all plastic and flexible.  The clasps are also plastic and light colored. The advantages to this type of partial is that it is very thin and light and has no metal clasps.  The disadvantage to the ValplastTM removable partial is that you cannot add to it and it is very difficult to adjust.  If you lose a tooth, you have to start over.  It also just rests on the tissue and not on the teeth, so chewing is not as effective and it can cause more sore spots.

Before & After Photos

The first four photos are of the upper teeth of a patient who continued to have problems with dry mouth and dental caries after Radiation Treatment. From the fifth photo you can see that the patient had 4 crowns placed and due to the crown margins being sub-gingival (below the gum line), the patient has maintained without new cavities.

Before & After Gallery

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