I have cancer, now what?

After a diagnosis of cancer your teeth may be the last thing on your mind, when in fact the care of your mouth is an important part of treatment. Immediately following a cancer diagnosis, you want to see your general dentist for an assessment of your oral health. Your dentist should thoroughly examine the head and neck, the oral cavity and all oral tissues, a periodontal assessment, and a full series of dental radiographs. A prophylaxis prior to beginning treatment will help reduce oral complications. Restorative treatment can sometimes be delayed, depending upon the severity of the decay.  It is recommended that any oral surgery needed be performed prior to treatment. These decisions will be made jointly between your general dentist and oncologist. Your dental team will also review possible oral side effects involved in cancer treatment such as dry mouth, loss of taste, or sensitivity and make recommendations for your home care.