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Dentimed is a unique dental practice designed to meet the complex oral health needs of individuals with a cancer diagnosis. We provide special care dentistry for individuals with cancer before, during and after cancer treatment.
The team at Dentimed have built a practice based on exceptional patient care. Together, the team has many decades of experience in all facets of dentistry in particular meeting the special needs of cancer patients. To stay at the forefront of patient care, we are constantly furthering our education in all aspects of dentistry.
Dentimed is an accredited dental practice, which means that we are a practice of excellence… you can rest assured that all our systems, qualifications, infection control procedures and team members are beyond reproach.
Dentimed is here to support you and your oral health through your cancer journey.
When you receive a cancer diagnosis you know that the treatments and medications will have many side effects. You know that you may be vulnerable to various illnesses and germs, you may lose your hair and possibly experience severe nausea and vomiting. What is often a surprise to many people is the side effects or complications you may experience in your mouth.
Whilst people’s experiences vary widely, the most common oral complications from cancer treatments are:
- Dry mouth
We can assist you in minimising these effects by monitoring you throughout your treatment.
WHY DOES CANCER TREATMENT AFFECT YOUR MOUTH?
There are a few reasons why cancer treatments have such a profound impact on your mouth:
A compromised immune system can lead to existing infections worsening. Gum disease or dental decay are caused by bacterial infections and can rapidly deteriorate during cancer treatment causing significant pain. Because teeth and gums have their own blood supply, infective bacteria in the mouth can be transported freely throughout our body via our blood stream (resulting in whole body infections).
Cancer treatments are designed to destroy fast-growing sick cancer cells, but they also destroy fast-growing healthy cells. The eradication of fast-growing healthy cells results in compromised healing. This means that injury to our mouths from seemingly normal activities like eating or accidentally biting your tongue, can develop into sores (ulcers) and become easily infected and cause extreme pain.
Cancer medications (and many other medications) can affect the volume and consistency of saliva, resulting in dry mouth. Saliva has many significant purposes; it lubricates our mouth allowing us to talk and eat, it helps us taste and it washes away sugars and acids from food, helping to keep our mouth clean. When there is not enough saliva or saliva is too thick, our mouth becomes vulnerable to dental decay and periodontal disease. So too, eating and talking can become very difficult.
HOW LONG DO ORAL COMPLICATIONS LAST?
Oral complications can develop soon after cancer treatment begins and can, in some cases, last for some time after your treatment finishes.
WHAT COULD ORAL COMPLICATIONS MEAN FOR ME?
Pain is the biggest issue cancer patients experience in their mouth. The reasons for the pain are varied but pain can be serious enough to interfere with people’s ability to eat, drink and talk. Some people’s mouth problems can be so painful and serious that they can cause your doctor to change, delay or stop your cancer treatment. This has significant issues for both patient survival and quality of life. In its' most extreme forms oral complications can lead to systemic infections that can require hospitalisation.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO CARE FOR MY MOUTH?
Ideally, if time allows, BEFORE you begin cancer treatment. This way we can reduce or eliminate any active or potential sources of infection from your mouth. In some cases, cancer treatment will begin immediately and we can help you after you have begun. We aim to see our oncology patients within 24 hours of your enquiry and we have specially allocated appointments that make this possible. If you have finished you cancer treatment, you have a unique set of oral health needs and risks that we can support.
WHAT ARE THE DENTIMED PRIORITIES?
The priority during cancer treatment is to remove potential and existing sources of infection from your mouth. Only medically necessary dentistry is performed. All other treatment (if you choose any) is put on hold until you are healthy. You are welcome to bring a family member, carer or loved one to your appointments.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT YOUR APPOINTMENT
We will assess your mouth using best-practice techniques, the latest technology and convey the results to you using the best communication skills available. This will involve:
- A thorough but comfortable examination.
- An assessment by both the dentist and dental hygienist. All our practitioners use loupes, which are special medical grade optical glasses, which allow for high magnification. This allows us to see everything happening in your mouth clearly.
- We will take photos and show you everything we see.
- We will provide written documents to help you understand the health of your mouth and for ease of communication with other doctors (although we will also advise them directly).
- We will give you written treatment plans and oral health instruction so you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.
- We offer the very best oral care devices and medicaments to make your home care routine specific to you and as easy as possible.
- Where possible the medicaments we offer will uphold our low to no chemical policy.
Please visit out website www.dentimed.com.au or feel free to ring and speak to us, or even drop in to talk. We're here to help!