Radiation Treatment May Pose Dental Problems

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Researchers advise patients with Hodgkin's disease or breast cancer toinform their dentist if they have received therapeutic radiation treatment tothe chest because of possible complications that could affect their dentaltreatment, according to a report published recently in the Journal of theAmerican Dental Association.

Some patients may experience changes to the heart valves that couldpredispose them to endocarditis—a serious inflammation of the heartvalves or tissues.Whenever there is bleeding in the mouth, oral bacteria canenter the bloodstream and travel to the heart, presenting a greater risk ofendocarditis for patients with heart problems.Therefore, the American HeartAssociation and the American Dental Association have both issued guidelinesfor dentists to help them protect patients at risk of developing bacterialendocarditis. The guidelines suggest prescribing antibiotics before dentaltreatment, based on patients' medical conditions and other dental treatments.Antibiotics may be necessary for professional tooth cleaning, extractions,and some oral surgeries.