3 years ago

Department of Veterans Affairs Consensus: Preradiation dental treatment guidelines for patients with head and neck cancer

Jill M. White, Neeraj H. Panchal, Carolyn J. Wehler, Susan C. Bestgen, José E. Colón, Hemal G. Desai, Christie M. Hogue, M. Marianne Jurasic, Beatrice C. Maritim, Alejandra P. Ortega, Gregory M. Smith, Jeffery Y. Taylor, Gretchen Gibson


Few protocols have been published for the dental management of patients with head and neck cancer to prevent complications from head and neck radiation therapy. Radiation therapy not only affects the tumor cells targeted, but also the dentition, bone, salivary gland, and oral soft tissue structures. A comprehensive dental evaluation prior to head and neck radiation therapy can help prevent many complications. The following clinical guidelines were established by a workgroup of oral health providers within the Department of Veterans Affairs. This workgroup focused on developing a set of recommendations regarding dental care prior to the initiation of head and neck radiation therapy based on the best clinical evidence and expert consensus. A systematic algorithm was developed for the evaluation including pre‐exam data gathering, examination, education, and treatment, followed by maintenance and postradiation dental follow‐up. This document is evidence‐based, patient‐centered, consistent with accepted practices of care and safety, and in accordance with applicable statutes and regulations.

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