Radiation caries: effects of radiotherapy on dental structure

Eduardo Sérgio Donato Duarte Filho, Paula Fernanda Rodrigues de Melo Silva, Lúcio Flávio Azevedo Donato, Lúcio Frigo, Michel Nicolau Youssef, Stefânia Jeronimo Ferreira
2019 Revista Cubana de Estomatología  
Patients undergoing radiotherapy as treatment for malignant head and neck tumors are prone to develop oral complications such as radiation caries, which evolves rapidly and is highly destructive. Such development is known to be caused by post-radiotherapy alterations in salivary glands resulting in hyposalivation and changes in salivary components. However, it has been accepted that damage by direct radiation to the dental structure may hasten the progress of caries development, and studies
more » ... nt, and studies have shown the morphological and physical changes occurring in human teeth after radiotherapy. Objective: Present a case of radiation caries and the direct effects of radiation on dental structure. Case presentation: A 60-year-old male patient complains of "dental fragility". The patient was diagnosed with squamous-cell carcinoma of the tongue 18 months ago and indicated chemotherapy (38 sessions), radiotherapy (38 sessions) and surgery. Physical examination revealed among other changes the presence of blackish cervical areas with quite fragile crowns in all remaining teeth, which are characteristic of radiation caries. Non-traumatic treatment was performed and the patient is now under observation. Conclusions: Salivary quantitative and qualitative changes are the main cause of radiation caries. Discussion about the direct effects of radiation on dental structure is still quite controversial in the literature on the topic. It is therefore suggested to conduct further studies in a more systematic, complete and standardized manner.
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