My sister has been undergoing cancer treatment and it has taken a severe toll on her teeth. She’s even ended up losing a couple. Would dental implants be a good solution for her? I want to get her the best care I can because she is pretty down on herself and how she looks at the moment.
It is wonderful that you are trying to help your sister out here. Cancer treatments, while they can extend or even save lives, do so by poisoning the body. It has severe side effects on every system, including your mouth. You could have had perfect teeth that never had an issue before and cancer will bring on tons of cavities and tooth loss. Make sure your sister knows the condition of her teeth is NOT her fault. Hopefully, her dentist has at least provided her with some prescription fluoride treatments to help her through this time.
Oral Issues from Chemotherapy
- Changes in taste
- Mouth and gum pain
- Mouth sores
- Peeling and burning tongue
These types of issues can make it painful to brush your teeth and almost impossible to floss.
Oral Issues from Radiation
- Bone disease
- Increased tooth decay
- Jaw stiffness
- Loss of taste
- Mouth sores
- Salivary changes (dry mouth, decreased saliva, swollen salivary glands)
In this case, the mouth sores, bone disease, and salivary changes are the most devestating to your oral health. Saliva is one of the most powerful things you have to fight decay. Bone disease can eat away at the bone which is supporting your tooth roots.
Dental Implants for Tooth Loss
Choosing dental implants was a great choice. They are by far the closest thing to having a healthy, natural tooth in her mouth again. You will want to find a dentist with post-doctoral training in dental implants. It will be especially important for your sister that adequate diagnostics are done, including a CT scan to ensure she has enough bone support to retain the implants.
If she’s lost too much bone, it is not a deal breaker, but it will require an additional step. Bone grafting can restore the lost bone in her jaw and enable her to get dental implants for her replacements.
Best of luck to both of you.
This blog is brought to you by West Seneca Dentist Dr. Carl Embury.