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Dental therapy before and after radiotherapy–an evaluation on patients with head and neck malignancies

Clinical Oral Investigations
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1007/s00784-008-0229-1
  • Original Article
  • Medicine


The present investigation evaluates the dental care situation of patients with head and neck cancer before and after radiotherapy. The situations of these patients in 1993 and 2005 were compared to detect similarities, differences and developments. In the years 1993 and 2005, 37 and 36 patients, respectively, with head and neck cancer treated by the local departments of otorhinolaryngology and of radiotherapy were examined consecutively according to their aftercare appointments. Time points of radiotherapy treatment of the patients evaluated in 1993 varied from 1984 to 1993. The patients evaluated in 2005 had received radiotherapy between 1998 and 2005. Therefore the applied radiotherapeutic regimen differed not only between the two groups of patients, but also within each group. The information for these investigations was provided anonymously. It was evaluated with descriptive statistics. The evaluation of the data shows distinct differences with respect to preventive and therapeutic dental care measures. In 2005, 35 out of 36 patients (97.2%) had a dental consultation before radiotherapy (1993, 65%). All 27 dentate patients (100%) obtained a splint for fluoride application (1993, none). 29% fewer edentulous patients were seen than in 1993. The number of teeth destroyed decreased from 19.2% (1993) to 7.8% in 2005. Mycoses due to Candida spp. and chronic failures in wound healing were rare (5.5%). In the course of the 12 years, prophylactic measures, such as the application of splints for fluoride treatment, were intensified. However, concepts for the dental care of patients undergoing radiotherapy, especially following the radiation, should be widened to avoid ruined teeth and long delayed wound healings.

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