Background No evidence-based guidelines exist for preventive dental care before radiation therapy (RT) in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC). An ongoing multicenter, prospective cohort study, Clinical Registry of Dental Outcomes in Head and Neck Cancer Patients (OraRad), is addressing this knowledge gap. The authors evaluated the level of dental disease before RT in the OraRad cohort, factors associated with dental disease, and dental treatment recommendations made before RT. Methods As part of OraRad, the authors assessed caries, periodontal disease, dental recommendations, and dental interventions performed before RT. Results Baseline measures were reported for 356 participants (77% men) with mean (standard deviation) age of 59.9 (11.0) years. Measures included mean number of teeth (22.9), participants with at least 1 tooth with caries (37.2%), and participants with at least 1 tooth with probing depth 5 millimeters or greater (47.4%). Factors associated with less extensive dental disease before RT included having at least a high school diploma, having dental insurance, history of routine dental care, and a smaller tumor size (T1 or T2). Based on the dental examination before RT, 163 (49.5%) participants had dental treatment recommended before RT, with extractions recommended most frequently. Conclusion Many patients with HCN require dental treatment before RT; more than one-third require extractions. Practical Implications Most patients have some level of dental disease at the start of RT, indicating the importance of dental evaluation before RT. By observing dental outcomes after RT, OraRad has the potential to determine the best dental treatment recommendations for patients with HCN.
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© 2017 American Dental Association
- Radiation therapy
- head and neck neoplasms
- periodontal diseases