Chemotherapy is a treatment designed to destroy cancer cells, but it can also affect healthy cells. One of chemotherapy’s side effects is immunosuppression. It slows down healthy cell growth in the bone marrow, where defense cells are produced.
The most challenging condition that may develop is oral mucositis. The pain and inflammation of this condition prevents eating, swallowing, and normal speech due to painful lesions in the mouth. Secondary infections, such as candida can further worsen symptoms.
The inflammatory effects chemotherapy causes on mucous cells are intense. A week after chemotherapy begins, oral mucositis effects begin to be felt. Healthy cells are subjected to sudden apoptosis. The condition is challenging for providers to treat and for patients to endure, sometimes slowing or stopping cancer treatment altogether.
Secondary conditions like thrush, salivary changes, dry mouth, changes in taste sensitivity, and difficulty eating may be experienced, depending on dose and type of chemotherapy being administered. The patient’s general health, age, and other factors also play a role.
Laser treatment can prevent oral mucositis when applied prior to the start of chemotherapy. Laser Therapy is recommended by the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) as standard for cancer care. In many countries, laser is routinely covered by medical insurance and patient health plans.
Laser therapy effectively treats oral mucositis when no other treatment can, preserving patient quality of life and the cancer regimen’s completion. Laser early intervention amplifies cell regeneration, protects cells from being destroyed, and modulates the inflammatory process in the first stages of mucositis. It saves the mucous cells, speeding up the healing response.
The laser is applied immediately after chemotherapy. Laser dosage varies according to patient, but in all cases the dentist is the professional trained for the treatment. Diagnosis and management of the case should be managed by a dentist trained in laser therapy.
If the patient did not start laser treatment prior to developing oral mucositis, several sessions will be necessary to reduce inflammatory response. Within 24 hours following laser therapy treatment, the patient can expect to have a significant decrease in pain.
Doctors refer cancer patients to dentists for the prevention of oral mucositis. Dentists are increasingly involved in oncology teams. Informed patients are additionally seeking this care out for themselves. If you are a cancer patient, look for a dentist who practices with therapeutic laser! If you are an oncologist, remember to refer your patients to a laser therapy dental professional.