Radiotherapy and Dental Implant Applications in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer
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Head and neck cancers are aggressive malignancies, with surgery, radiotherapy, and chemoradiotherapy being current therapeutic options. Multiple tooth loss due to rampant caries, ineffective oral hygiene or care, xerostomia, and changes in saliva content are among the common side effects of radiotherapy. Multiple tooth loss will significantly reduce the quality of life by negatively affecting oral activities such as eating, drinking, speaking, chewing, and grinding, as well as social interactions and psychological well-being. Because less saliva is produced after radiotherapy, the use of conventional prostheses would be difficult for various reasons. As a result, dental implant-supported prostheses have gained popularity as a reliable oral rehabilitation option for patients who have received radiotherapy. However, the potential risks of dental implant applications and the appropriate scheduling for patients who have undergone or will undergo radiation therapy remain a source of concern. In light of this, the purpose of this chapter is to present a multidisciplinary perspective on dental implant applications, ideal application timing, and considerations in patients with head and neck cancer from the perspectives of radiation oncology and dentistry.
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