Head and Neck Cancer
My First Appointment
At your first appointment, you will meet one of the dentists and assistants who will complete: your medical history, x-rays, comprehensive dental exam, fluoride tray impressions, and a MST score.
What is a comprehensive dental exam?
This is similar to a new patient exam when you are meeting a dentist for the very first time. At the dental clinic, a dentist will assess all your tissues and teeth. At this appointment, a treatment plan will be determined. The dentist will also communicate with your ENT surgeon and radiation oncologist. Sometimes, but not always, treatment is completed at the first appointment.
What are fluoride trays?
Fluoride trays are similar in texture to a sports guard. They are made custom to fit only your mouth. After radiation, most patients experience dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause cavities and can even cause the cavity to grow at a faster rate. Fluoride trays are used once a day to help decrease cavities with placement of 1.1% neutral sodium fluoride gel in the trays. Instructions for fluoride trays will be given at the appointment when you pick them up and try them in.
What is a MST (Modified Schirmer Test) score?
An MST score measures the amount of saliva in your mouth at the 1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minute mark. The highest score is 35. At your first appointment, and at subsequent appointments, a dental assistant will take your MST score. This is done so that we can compare your saliva after radiation to your initial amount to determine whether or not long-term fluoride tray use is necessary.