Call Your Dentist….

So, I was visiting with a friend the other day who had bought the book for his brother!  Yes, his brother.  He told me that his brother has really valued the tips and tricks in the book and that many do apply to him.  “However”, my friend said,” you really have to have something in the book about the dentist.”  Hmmm, I looked at him a little surprised.  You see the chapter on external beauty is all about starting with your smile and your dentist.

I asked him to go on.  Apparently, his brother has cracked a tooth.  However, the dentist can’t treat his tooth because he is on chemo.  And so, my friend thought we needed more information on dentistry and cancer treatments.  He is right you know.  The dental impact of going through cancer is a big deal, and we need to share as much as we can.

The challenge with our mouths is that they have so much bacteria in them!  Of course, bacteria along with saliva starts our digestive process.  However, because of all the bacteria, we are at great risk of infection when we have any dental work done.  The last thing a cancer patient needs is an infection, therefore patients are advised to avoid the dentist until after treatment.  Dentists are advised to not treat patients who are going through treatment.  So we have a very real conundrum – if you are a cancer patient and are in treatment, there is a very real possibility that any dental issues can not be fixed until treatments are over.  Additionally, your treatments may cause dental problems, especially if you experience the very common side effect of dry mouth.

However, just because a dentist can’t work on you, does not mean he or she can not help you!  First things first, when you are diagnosed, call your dentist right away.  They can offer prescription toothpastes and other suggestions that can manage your mouth during treatment.  If you have a dental problem during treatment, call your dentist.  While, they may not be able to fully repair a cracked tooth, they may be able to offer alternative means of managing the pain or protecting the tooth until it can be repaired.  And, do not hesitate to ask your dentist to talk with your oncologist if you have a tooth problem.  Together, they may be able to identify a creative solution for your aching mouth.

I am sorry my friend’s brother is dealing with both chemo and a toothache!  But, I am really glad he shared that with me – as it reminded me to share with you the challenges of managing your teeth while going through treatment.

Be well friends…