For head and neck cancer patients, accessing dental healthcare is incredibly important. Many patients need dental care prior to starting radiotherapy or chemotherapy, or if they develop problems while undergoing cancer treatment.
Furthermore, radiotherapy can cause damage that make patients more susceptible to dental problems and decay once their cancer treatment has finished.
Unfortunately not all cancer patients are able to receive timely dental care from an NHS dentist. So twice a month volunteers on our mobile dental unit provide free dental care for head and neck cancer patients at University Hospital Southampton.
Since summer 2021, we have helped many newly diagnosed head and neck cancer patients at University Hospital Southampton receive the dental care they need prior to starting treatment. It is essential this is done as quickly as possible so cancer treatments aren’t delayed and patients can have the best possible outcomes.
We have also seen patients who have broken teeth and developed dental problems while undergoing cancer treatment which, if left untreated, causes them a great deal of pain. Our volunteers are able to offer emergency dental care for patients so they don’t have additional dental concerns while they are undergoing head and neck cancer treatment.
The final part of this work is to offer ongoing free dental care for patients who have finshed their cancer treatment.
Some have suffered financially while undergoing cancer treatment and additional costs of private dentistry can cause additional pressure and anxiety. Furthermore, some patients find their teeth are more likely to become decayed and damaged following radiotherapy and they need more reguar dental care which is either unaffordable or unavailable.
Dentaid is proud to be working with Macmillan Cancer Support and University Hospital Southampton to deliver this service and hopes to expand it to help head and neck cancer patients in more areas.