Cancer prevalence in the United States is significant, with an estimated 40% of the population experiencing this diagnosis at some point in their lives. In 2020 alone, 1,806,590 new cancer cases were projected, encompassing 53,260 cases involving oral and oropharyngeal malignancies. Amidst barriers like financial constraints and irregular dental visits (highlighted by a 2014 American Dental Association survey indicating that 32.3% of the general population avoids yearly dentist appointments), patients battling cancer often encounter not just routine dental needs, but the intricate challenges arising from their malignancy and treatments. Dental professionals, pivotal in orchestrating optimal treatment strategies for cancer patients, are often untrained in managing the unique complexities presented by this cohort due to the absence of comprehensive coverage within standard dental school curricula. The landscape of cancer management is evolving rapidly, propelled by novel targeted therapies, surgical techniques, radiation protocols, and chemotherapies. This progression complicates the already intricate task of ensuring dentists are well-versed and at ease in providing suitable care to cancer patients. The range of potential adversities in this population is broad, encompassing oral mucositis, infections, diminished salivary gland function, dental caries, taste disruptions, as well as medication and/or radiation-induced conditions like osteonecrosis and trismus. Importantly, dental practitioners strive to deliver treatments that are evidence-based, cost-effective, and applicable within general dental practice settings. This comprehensive review navigates through the prevalent side effects linked with cancer and its therapies, shedding light on evidence-based interventions that can be feasibly executed in dental practice. To maintain focus, the review excludes coverage of topics surrounding medication- or radiation-induced osteonecrosis and trismus. By addressing the spectrum of oral complications and providing a practical guide to managing them, this review aims to empower dental practitioners in offering optimized care to cancer patients while fostering improved collaboration between dental and oncological healthcare realms.
Bissonnette, Caroline DDS; McNamara, Kristin DDS; and Kalmar, John DMD, PhD
"Oral Complications in Cancer Patients: A Review of Practical Interventions in the Dental Setting,"
The Journal of the Michigan Dental Association: Vol. 102:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://commons.ada.org/journalmichigandentalassociation/vol102/iss4/3