Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouth During Cancer Treatment
Gritting My Teeth After Colon Cancer Treatment
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I was taking Zometa for colon cancer mets to the bone, lung, and liver. My teeth are falling out or breaking off – why does this occur? I was also told that this side effect can be dangerous to fix (pulling the tooth). Are there other options, and can any dentist do this? Should all dentists understand this problem, or are there special dentists who specialize in cancer patients? Thanks.
A rare side effect of bisphosphonates such as Zometa (zoledronic acid) is osteonecrosis of the jaw. This is a rare occurrence in which there is pain, as well as damage to the jaw around the tooth socket. There can be loss of bone, leading to loose teeth and other dental problems. Management can be difficult and should be done in conjunction with an oral surgeon. At times, surgery can be avoided with minor dental work to remove the injured area, but in advanced cases surgery is required. The bisphosphonate should also be stopped once this problem occurs.
I’m not aware of dentists who specialize in cancer patients, but you could try asking your oncologist or regular dentist for a recommendation.
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