IMPORTANT: In issues of oral health and dental care you should ensure your treatment, care, and support is provided by qualified and experienced health professionals. Check the register of the New Zealand Medical Council for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS) (Click here) and the register of the Dental Council of New Zealand for dentists, and prosthodontists.(Click here) Ensure the right health professional with the rights skills, and expertise is providing advice and services for your safety, health and well being. Be aware that this advice from the Ministry of Health does not include OMS that are registered with the Dental Council ONLY.

We will put more formal resources up soon but what I have learnt from many talks at the Auckland meetings is the following 

  • Have a thorough dental check up before treatment by surgery or surgery and radiation. They will probably give you the big dental x-ray anyway, but make sure you enquire about findings. If you have teeth removed, will you be able to have a plate or implants afterwards? Will you have prosthodontist or oral surgeon input into surgery planning if a lot of work is done on your mouth? 
  • During radiation, make sure you follow instructions and take pain relief as offered. Your mouth and teeth will be checked every week.
  • After radiation it is essential to follow the best dental care possible, cleaning every single tooth carefully and using the strongest fluoride toothpaste, interdental brushes and tooth mousse. Most hospital dental oncology departments will follow you up for a year. If not, ask. Once your mouth has settled down, ask about the advisability of seeing a hygienist every 3 - 6 months. I don't want to provide free advertising for a commercial product but this toothpaste is the strongest fluoridated product in New Zealand. 
  •  Salt and baking soda rinses will break up the thick mucous and help neutralise the acid in your mouth. 

Diana Ayling

Dental and Oral Care

Before treatment we advise you to review these resources. We know that head and neck cancer patients can have many dental and oral care issues. We provide resources:

Before Treatment

During Treatment

After Treatment