• Read comment about having teeth cut out from radiation effects. OW! Really? I will need radiation and this is terrifying --is it common?

    Asked by suebo on Friday, February 15, 2013

    Read comment about having teeth cut out from radiation effects. OW! Really? I will need radiation and this is terrifying --is it common?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      It depends on where, how long, and how strong the radiation is. It would be pretty rare for some one with breast cancer, more common for some one with head and neck cancer. For other types of cancer, chemo is the more likely culprit to cause dental problems since mouth sores and dry mouth and infections (including oral infections) are more common as a side effect of chemo rather than radiation to other areas of the body.

      In any case, it is always a good idea to see your dentist and fix any existing problem prior to treatment when possible.

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Probably not for you, radiation directed at the mouth, jaw/neck area causes big problems for teeth. If your a breast cancer patient and going to have radiation in that area, you should not have any concern with dental issues from the radiation.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Radiation and chmo cause dry mouth, a condition that encourages decay. Radiation treatment did not cause me to loss any teeth. And I'm hoping to control the damage from my infsuions

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I feared this, too, until my initial consultation with my radiation oncologist who reassured me how directed the radiation is to avoid hitting any body parts that don't need it (esophagus, heart, etc.)

      over 3 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      X-cuse me BUT, I was radiated at my bottom end .... I lost every tooth filling I had in my mouth during the radiation. They just fell out. I replaced those amalgams with porcelain. Now, years later, my teeth are beginning to rot. It looks as though, should I be able to afford them, I am looking to 4-6 implants and already have 6 crowns. The effect is from the radiation affecting my ability to produce saliva, the strength of my bones (of which group teeth are), and my general health. Why don't we just say that things are different for different folks but that folks who do suffer radiation side effects are going to be supporting a dentist or two down the road.

      I have radically re engineered my food intake and my life style in order to be as strong and healthy as possible and not continue to suffer these little side effects from treatment.

      over 3 years ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar

      I highly recommend porcelean bonding. It can adhere to practically any shaped surface and reconstruct what went away with treatment. It requires extreme oral cleanliness.

      over 3 years ago
    • barbaraanne's Avatar

      I haven't started my radiation treatments yet, but I did have a problem after my last 2 chemo treatments. I developed an abscess on my gum by my back teeth. I had the doc prescribe my antibiotics, which helped. I did go to my dentist & the periodontist. Via the x-rays he informed me I have bone loss and that the crown I have needs to be removed so the tooth could be pulled and of course gum work on several other areas...the infection was gone, then after the last chemo treatment it came back, so I definitely think it was the treatment that set this off. I am vigilante on taking care of my teeth, this really XXX me off. By the way I am a breast cancer patient, I would guess if you have neck or throat cancer, it would be worse. Well good luck I hope you don't run into this problem..

      over 3 years ago
    • jad's Avatar

      Recently finished my chemo for breast cancer and though I had some mouth issues, I got a fine dental check up this week. I am on radiation now, and was not aware of possible dental issues with that --- so I will keep up the "vigilante" efforts as barbaraanne so nicely stated. Probably not a bad idea to keep them up the rest of my life. I want to keep all the fillings, crowns, implants I have had prior to diagnosis. And selfish me would also like to hold onto money, even though I like my dentist.

      over 3 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      I had one issue but it was during the chemo, not the radiation. Had to have an old removed and refilled, tooth cracked. Luckily no pain, but it was not something I wanted to have to at that time. Also, the concern was that during chemo you shouldn't be getting teeth cleaned, etc. But, fixing the tooth had to be done. No issues with teeth during rads. Not sure how this would effect teeth unless aimed near throat or neck.

      over 3 years ago
    • CAL's Avatar

      Interesting discussion. I just finished 10 out of 33 radiation treatments after having surgery and then chemo. So far I haven't had any worsening of my not so great dental history. It could have something to do with the boatload of dietary supplements and dietary adjustments I made as prescribed by my medical oncologist. I suspect based on my investigation of radiation types/intensity that this side effect will vary. Most of my treatments are in the prone position (on my stomach) and the radiation is directed very precisely at the breast tissue and some of the surrounding adipose (fat) tissue. This method can't be used for all women as it depends on breast size and radiation oncologists' background and available equipment. The good news about it is that underlying organs and surrounding organs don't get hit and thus some of the side effects that they tell you "are possible" and scare the daylights out of you are minimized or not at all, I will have 4 treatments at the end that are called "boost" treatments laying on my back so those potentially will have more negative effects. Talk to your radiation oncologist very specifically and ask LOTS of questions. I researched a lot of radiation treatment possibilities and took research articles in with me. Fortunately, the Rad. Oncologist I go to really appreciates his patients coming in knowledgeable with lots of questions and is incredibly clear and patient in talking about pros/cons, potential side effects, effects on lifestyle and planning for even after radiation is over. He also has a great sense of humor. We laugh about my hair starting to look like his (white, short, straight up in the air). He said at least mine has the potential of getting long again covering all my head again with out the bald patches. One has to laugh when you can. Keep laughing when you can even while you investigate possibilities. It is hard to keep ones sense of humor in the midst of fear and feeling ill or in pain and sometimes with just the regular life circumstances which don't stop just because one has cancer so finding things to laugh about and finding joy around you can really boost your spirits.

      over 3 years ago
    • Tania's Avatar

      Hi Suebo: I am a breast cancer survior of 4 years. I had radiation for 6 weeks and my teeth are fine. It all depends where you are having the raditaion. Talk to your doctor please. Keep me posted. Hugs from Miami, Florida (Tania)

      over 3 years ago

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