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FAQ53: Does Radiation Always Cause Tooth Loss?
On Wed, 22 Sep 2004 23:48:18 EDT, TerryTX wrote into the WebWhispers List:

" If you have had radiation, eventually your teeth will start breaking off at the gum line if they haven't already. Your dentist will be more than happy to continue every kind of treatment he/she can think of, for as long as you want, because there is money to be made. However, eventually you may/will need oral surgery to remove your teeth."

As has been often pointed out within this ListServ and elsewhere, making sweeping, broad generalizations is dangerous and normally misleading and inaccurate.

I am 11 years post-radiation and 10 years post-op and have NOT lost a tooth due to radiation damage. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have had 4 teeth that have required "caps" since 1994, but these were due to old, failed fillings and new "decay" ... and all 4 caps are doing just fine. Additionally, my dentist has said that I will likely go to my grave with the teeth I have .... with a possible additional cap or two, due to failed, old fillings ... as he sees no reason why not.

I have NOT lost a tooth due to its "breaking off at the gum line" - nor has my dentist found any evidence that this will occur in the future. Each patient is different, as is the "radiation field" that MAY have damaged our teeth.

In my case, I religiously get semiannual dental exams, brush daily, (floss less than desired), use an oral rinse twice daily (AM/PM), and "pre-medicate" with "Amoxicillin" one hour prior to every dental exam or dental work (to help preclude any dental work related infection).

So ... don't believe generalizations. As with most things, "it all depends on your own personal circumstances." Just take care of the teeth you have left and get "second opinions" when in doubt.

Hope this helps.


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