Radiotherapy-induced oral morbidities in head and neck cancer patients

Head and Neck Cancer

Bhandari S, et al. Spec Care Dentist 2020 - Review.


The cumulative effect of radiation and the extent of related morbidities on oral tissues are enormous and increase over time. The numerous radiation-related side effects have a strong, negative influence on the oral functions and are responsible for a drastic reduction in the oral-health-related quality of life of the cancer survivors. In a significant deviation to the earlier approach of advising extraction of all remaining teeth before RT, the concept of preserving a maximum number of teeth in

a state of health and for better oral functions postcancer cure has been globally accepted and is adhered to. The effects of radiation and their impact on the general well-being of the patients underscore the relevance of understanding the sequelae of radiation therapy on healthy oral tissues, preexisting oral diseases and their progression, impact on oral treatment needs, limitations in performing the indicated treatment, and shortcoming in treatment outcomes. It is vital for the professionals involved in head and neck cancer care to follow a well-devised referral system for oral care before and after RT and educate patients for a life-long follow-up.