pre-radiation dental

Back to the oncology department, this time to see the dentist.  I fill out all the routine forms even though I’ve filled all the same forms several times already, in the same office.  Every doctor needs his own set of forms I’m told.  So while I’m filling in (or out) the forms, the receptionist takes my health care card to make a copy.  Then she proceeds to loose it.  That’s right.  Went in to a medical appointment with my health card, came away without the card.  Lost, in the depths of reception.

Anyway, I’m lead in to see the dentist and he looks thrilled to be there (not).  Looks like it’s a job to him, not a passion (his years?).  The dentists I go to in Colombia, they have passion, always energetic and smiling.  Regardless, as has been told to me, radiation does some heavy damage to the jaw area.  Having extractions post radiation, no matter how many years later, can be complicated.  Ugly might be a better word.

To prevent ugly, it’s important to be super diligent about dental care he tells me.  One big change is that I’ll now need a prescription toothpaste.  A special highly fluorinated toothpaste.  He immediately writes me a ‘script for 12 refills (limit).  A prescription toothpaste for life.  Must be dangerous stuff, can’t be sold over the counter.

And, after brushing, the rule is, not to rinse for 20/30 minutes afterwards.  That means no brushing right before bed because, apparently, you will want to rinse after the 20/30 minutes.  This might be a good time to work in the tongue and throat exercises.

Additionally, he takes molds of my upper and lower teeth so I can wear plates during radiation.  I have yet to discover whether I’ll need to use these at any other time.

The good news is that I can have regular dental work, cleaning and routine fills.  But no surgery and no extractions.  That’s an incentive not to forget to floss again.  I go back next week to pick up the finished mold.  So exciting.  Next appointment is the nutritionist in the same department.

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