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Monday, June 16, 2008 Peg, Community Member, asks

Q: Chemo effect on teeth.

I have gone thru two treatments over 24 months, starting in 2003.  First time the coctail of sf1???, second time with taxotere with radiation to the breast.  In the past 18 months, I have had a tremendous increase in cavities, cracks  and fractures to my teeth.  I have always gone to regular dental appointments, extremely good with brushing, flossing and general dental hygene.  During chemo used a special fluroide product.  Is there any study or info on this?  I need to go to the dentist and want to make sure I address this problem correctly and get the best care for my teeth.

 

Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

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Answers (6)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
6/16/08 5:10pm

Hi Peg - Studies show that about 40% of people who get chemo subsequently have trouble with their teeth, including the issues you describe. If you let your dentist know you've had chemo, (s)he should be able to address this issue with you — it's fairly common. Good luck! - PJH

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Angi, Community Member
6/17/08 12:32pm

I can vouch from personal experience that yes, chemo and post-treatment meds reak havoc on your teeth; breaking down enamel; making them weak and suspectible to chips, cracks, etc; and making it hard to find dentist to perform work on them instead of pulling them as a solution. 

What's worse is most (if not all) health insurance provider's won't cover dental issues caused by disease and medication, but they will cover (up to $1000, such as my ins.) for a wig, due to loss from cancer  - Well I'd much rather be bald and have teeth than the other way around!

We need to stand up to our ins. companies and fight for better coverage and let them know the true side effects and dangers of chemotherapy drugs and what they do to our bodies.

Good luck to you!

Angi

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Julie, Community Member
10/ 2/09 9:22am

I also can relate to this.  Ever since I started my chemo treatments 3 1/2 years ago, I have had many cracks, toothaches and teeth pulled! Since 2006 I have had 4 teeth pulled and 1 that has literally fell apart!  I spoke with my chemo Dr. about this and he said, "well I have not heard of such a reaction like that due to chemo!"  Yeah, right!!! Good Luck to us all and keep on fighting!  Julie, I am not a Breast Cancer Survivor, I am a Stage IV Colon Cancer Survivor

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Linda, Community Member
10/18/10 1:41pm

Angi

I agree, we do need to stand up to insurance companies and drug companies that make these chemo drugs that rob us of our teeth... I am down to one molar to eat with.... and the front teeth are cracking and fracturing too.  I think we need to band together.  Maybe do a facebook page and see what happens....

 

Linda

hotrazor54@yahoo.com

 

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Lea, Community Member
12/10/09 3:51pm

I also received chemo for breast cancer in 2008  I am currently dealing with two teeth that have large cracks. One as been repaired with a cap but I may need a root canal as well. I searched because I wondered if anyone else had experienced this problem. 

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Maria Robinson, Community Member
5/24/10 7:21am

Unbelievable!  My teeth are cracking in all parts of my mouth.  I was not warned that this could happen.  It's costing me a fortune to try and save my teeth.  

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Linda, Community Member
10/18/10 1:38pm

You are not the only one who has had dental problems following taxotere chemo... I have had teeth that simply disintigrate while eating even a waffle.  More cracks, cavities and fractures... I wonder if I will have to get dentures soon... I am down to one molar left to chew my food with.  They say chemo doesn't affect your teeth... I don't believe it and feel that dental after chemo should be covered to restore your mouth, so you can eat again...

 

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
10/18/10 3:51pm

Linda, I'm not sure who told you that chemo does not affect teeth, but as you know from your own experience, chemo can cause dental problems.  These problems are well known, and most oncologists advise patients to see a dentist before starting chemo.  Here is a link to an article I wrote about the problem that may give you some more information about the problem and why it happens.  

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fe, Community Member
5/14/11 11:53am

I just had my 4th chemo and I realised this morning when looking in the mirror that one of my front teeth is crack in the middle! I am panicking because my oncology never say about this or see a dentist before i started chemo.

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
5/14/11 12:20pm

Give both your dentist and oncologist a call so that they can work together to decide how to deal with your dental situation without leading to problems with infection while you are on chemo.  I'm sorry that this is happening to you.  Hopefully, your dentist can give you some suggestions to get the rest of your teeth through chemo successfully.

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fe, Community Member
5/14/11 11:53am

I just had my 4th chemo and I realised this morning when looking in the mirror that one of my front teeth is crack in the middle! I am panicking because my oncology never say about this or see a dentist before i started chemo.

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Barbara, Community Member
3/11/11 9:50am

OMG, I am so glad I decided to research this topic, I knew there was a connection. I have been a survivor for ten years, but have noticed that my teeth did not survive the treatments. I go to the dentist regularly and currently on my fourth root canal in an attempt to save teeth that have cracked and chiped and increased cavities. I know that I have brushed regularly and have always maintained dentist appointments, but could not figure out why my teeth were deteriorating at such a rapid pace. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me know that this is not simply my imagination and I did practice good dental hygiene!

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Phyllis Johnson, Health Guide
3/11/11 7:23pm

Glad to reassure you that your dental problems are not your fault!  Be sure to let your doctor know about your previous chemo and cancer history.  There may not be much that can be done now, but your dentist may have some suggestions for fluoride mouthwashes or other preventive measures.  Of course all dentists should be checking carefully for oral cancers, but it seems to me that dentists are more thorough in checking for those when they know my cancer history.

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By Peg, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/20/12, First Published: 06/16/08