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Oral Complications of Chemotherapy and Head/Neck Radiation (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Posttransplantation Dental Treatment

Caution should be exercised when considering dental treatment for transplant patients until immune reconstitution has occurred; the time frame for this reconstitution can vary from 6 months to 12 months. Although hematologic parameters, including complete blood count and differential, may be documented as within normal limits, functional immune abnormalities may still be present. Patients should not resume routine dental treatment, including dental scaling and polishing, until adequate immunologic reconstitution has occurred; this includes recovery from graft-versus-host disease. The aerosolization of debris and bacteria during the use of ultrasonic or high-speed rotary cutting instruments can put the patient at risk for aspiration pneumonia; additionally, bacteremias often occur as a result of dental treatment, and their impact can be noticeable.

For patients who need urgent or emergency dental treatment, prophylactic antibiotics and strategies to reduce the potential influence of aspirating dental aerosols should be used. Additional administration of antibiotics should be determined by the patient's risk of infection caused by the presenting condition or as a sequela of treatment.

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Fissured Tongue

If you have fissures in your tongue, it's likely no cause for concern. In fact, certain types of grooves or cracks are considered simply a variation of a normal tongue. Sometimes called a plicated or scrotal tongue, this condition is often harmless. However, it's rarely a good idea to diagnose yourself. So, if you have any concerns, set your mind at ease by discussing this with your doctor or oral specialist.

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Appropriate supportive care—including antibiotics, immunoglobulin G administration, adjustment of steroid doses, and/or platelet transfusions—should be comprehensively considered before invasive oral procedures are undertaken.

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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