I went for my checkup today to find out if I needed any dental work performed prior to starting my treatments. I was really nervous about this one because I had read so many stories of people needing as many as 8 extractions before starting radiation. I was so relieved to find out I only needed one crown. The oral surgeon who did the examination said everything looked healthy with the exception of a molar that was cracked. I made an appointment for Thursday June 13th to get a good cleaning and the crown.
The Oral Surgeon explained in detail how radiation effects teeth, gums, bones etc. It was very enlightening and a little scary. He explained that once I had radiation I would never be able to have teeth implants if I needed them because of the irreversible damage does to the bones and blood supply to the bones. He also explained that dental hygiene would be of critical importance going forward. Because of the lack of saliva caused by radiations damage to the saliva glands I would no longer have that “auto rinsing system” to flush out bacteria. He also recommended using fluoride trays throughout my treatments to keep the teeth strong.
Afterwards my wife May and I went to my Radiation Oncologists office to give them the update on the dental work. They asked to update them so they could schedule my appointment for creating my mask and get together with the Chemo Oncologist to develop my treatment plan schedule. While we were there Dr. Ferraro asked us if we’d like to see my PET Scan on the computer and had a great discussion about the process of the treatments. He stayed with us until he was certain every question had been answered for us.
Having Doctors like Dr. Ferrero, Dr. Gillison and Dr. Huang who are willing to spend this kind of time helping us understand exactly what is happening and what to expect is priceless. I feel lucky to have them.
I’ll keep you updated as we keep chugging along.