This is the official guideline endorsed by the specialty associations involved in the care of head and neck cancer patients in the UK and provides recommendations on the pre-treatment oral and dental assessment, during and after treatment and oral rehabilitation. Restorative dentists are core members of the multidisciplinary team treating head and neck cancer patients, involved from the treatment planning phase through to long-term rehabilitation.
• Preventative oral care must be delivered to patients whose cancer treatment will affect the oral cavity, jaws, salivary glands and oral accessibility. (G)
• Close working and communication between the surgeons, oncologists and restorative dental specialists is important in ensuring optimal oral health outcomes. (G)
• Intensity-modulated radiotherapy has been shown to reduce long-term xerostomia and should be offered to all appropriate patients. (R)
• If patients are deemed at risk of trismus they should be warned and its progressive and potentially irreversible nature explained. (G)
• Where it is known that adjuvant radiotherapy will be given, extractions should take place at primary surgery to maximise the time for healing and minimise the number of surgical events for patients. (G)
• Osseointegrated implants should be considered for all patients having resection for head and neck cancer. (G)