When patients have been diagnosed with cancer there is a lot going on in their lives and quite often the thoughts of their dental health falls by the wayside. Part of what I do is as a Dental Oncologist is to make sure that patients going through cancer treatment can prevent some of the devastating side-effects. Where this is most significant is where there is cancer of the head and neck area or anywhere inside the mouth. The dental problems that can occur are just terrible. Sometimes the salivary glands can stop working and the lack of saliva leads to very quick occurring dental decay. Patients can lose teeth. If you’ve had a lot of radiation in the jaw bone, then there is great danger in taking out teeth after radiation treatment. Part of my goal is to see patients who are going to have cancer treatment before they start it. Even patients who don’t have cancer in the head and neck area, a lot of them will be receiving chemotherapy, which can really suppress the immune system. Any dental infections that were subclinical, meaning that there were no symptoms, can flare up. It is extremely important to go through a complete dental exam by a doctor who is familiar with the potential complications and recommend treatment before any of the cancer therapy is started.
Dr. Ronald Koslowski, DDS FACP is a Board Certified Prosthodontist and Dental Oncologist who practices in Encino, California. Dr. Koslowski is the author of “Take Back the Smile That Cancer Stole: The Cancer Patients Guide to Better Dental Health”, which is free to cancer patients and survivors who call our office to request a copy at 818-986-9036.