Clinical assessment and management of the oral environment in the oncology patient

Authors


Professor Laurence J Walsh
School of Dentistry
The University of Queensland
200 Turbot Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Email: l.walsh@uq.edu.au

Abstract

The dental care of oncology patients is an important component of general dental practice. Oncology patients have additional requirements for their outpatient care in the dental office. Intense involvement of the general dental practitioner in the patient’s overall plan of care is essential so that appropriate preventive and therapeutic strategies are followed prior to chemotherapy, radiation and other medical treatments. This paper provides an overview of the role of the dental practitioner in the pre-treatment workup and post-treatment maintenance of oncology patients, and discusses the complications which occur during the intensive and in-hospital phases of care, in the context of approaches that show promise for reducing or preventing these. The role of the general dental practitioner in the maintenance of oral health for the remainder of the patient’s life is stressed, with evidence-based recommendations given for optimal use of home care products which support oral health and improve quality-of-life.

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