Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Visit to the dentist

If you have had radiation to your head, or a parotidectomy (both of which can lessen your spit production) you REALLY need to stay friends with your dentist. The goal for me is to NOT have any teeth pulled from now until death, and I am proud to say that I have met that goal. However, while there is no decay to my choppers (flouride soaking trays, Biotene toothpaste, staying away from starchy/sugary foods as much as possible), I still have the teeth I walked into cancer-land with, and some of them have structural issues. One is about to be crowned (oh goody), but I know that will result in a better outcome than waiting around for the thing to break. On the good side, my dry mouth (xerostomia) seems to be getting better - the hygienist commented on my spit production while cleaning the teeth. I am nearly 3 years out from surgery and radiation, so maybe some of the tougher side effects are lessening.

Information links on cancer and how dentists can be of help to you if you are facing treatment now or have had it in the past:

Oral Cancer page at the American Dental Association: http://www.ada.org/public/topics/cancer_oral.asp (Note: my Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma wasn't technically 'oral cancer', but my dentist did see the signs of it way before any other doctor would have listened. Thanks to my dentist, I sought treatment earlier.)

Three Good Reasons to See a Dentist BEFORE Cancer Treatment, from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/CancerTreatment/ThreeGoodReasons.htm

Xerostomia information for dentists, from the Oral Cancer Foundation (share with your dentist): http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/dental/xerostomia.htm

1 comment:

Jeanne said...

OK, I'll confess, I haven't been to the dentist in two years. Maybe longer. I think you've inspired me to go before my teeth start falling out ...

 
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