Oral Rehabilitation Following Head and Neck Cancer Treatment – Review of literature
Falcao B, Januzzi E and Santos F
Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine
The oral rehabilitation in head and neck cancer patients is a challenge for the physician in charge of the case because a variety of functions can be affected, such as speech, deglutition, management of oral secretions and mastication. Considering the patient will be forever change after surgery, the main goal of oral rehabilitation is to restore the patient’s oral functions following surgery. The side effects of the various treatments that head and neck cancer patients under go are enormous, including xerostomia, mucositis, dysgeusia, dental hypersensitivity, fungal infections, ulceration, gingival bleeding, trismus, pain, reduced salivary flow and inability to use removable prosthesis. All of these side effects must be accounted throughout the process of oral rehabilitation because all of them will have an influence in the success or failure of the rehabilitation of the patient.
The strategy and techniques for the rehabilitation of head and neck cancer patients are directly related to the type of cancer, the extent, invasive vs. non-invasive, lymph nodes and metastasis involved, type of surgery and radiation modalities used.