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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 159-169

Oral and dental care before radiotherapy: Guidelines and development of a time-bound protocol

1 Unit of Prosthodontics, Oral Health Sciences Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Radiotherapy, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Sudhir Bhandari
Unit of Prosthodontics, Oral Health Sciences Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_871_20

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Involvement of multidisciplinary team is the mainstay in the holistic treatment outcome in head and neck cancer patients. Achieving a state of oral health is regarded as an essential treatment goal before radiation therapy but, it may get overlooked due to many competing priorities, lack of multidisciplinary facilities and/or incoordination, and limited overall awareness with regards to means of achieving oral health and in a time-bound manner and its relevance in improving quality of life in cancer survivors. Radiation inflicts an immense amount of damage upon the entire maxillofacial complex and consequently oral treatment after radiotherapy may remain untreated and/or undertreated. It is, therefore, vital to eliminate oral foci of infections well within a time frame before radiation so that tumor prognosis is not compromised.This article describes the current guidelines combined with a time-bound protocol developed in our center to not only prepare a patient for conventional radiotherapy but also to provide a logical perspective towards the feasibility of the oral rehabilitation post-cancer cure. The protocol aims to maximize the quality of life in head and neck cancer survivors by; patient education, minimizing preventable oral complications, and retaining strategic teeth for function, aesthetics, speech, and prosthetic support. The time-bound pre-radiation oral care protocol is rational, achievable, and is aligned towards the sustained oral health care goals in head and neck cancer patients and can be utilized as a useful resource in multidisciplinary head and neck cancer care facilities.


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