Tag Archives: radiotherapy

Leukemia and oral health

What is leukemia?

Leukemia is a malignant cancer of the blood in which one’s bone marrow produces white blood cells in excess in association with gene mutations.

leukemia: white blood cells (dark purple) produced in excess

Causes of leukemia

Genetic predisposition (family history, people with Down syndrome have higher tendency to get leukemia)

Artificial ionizing radiation

Chemicals (eg benzene and other petrochemicals)

Viruses, e.g. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus  or HTLV-1 (human T-lymphotropic virus) Continue reading

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Part 2

A brief introduction has been done in “Osteonecrosis of the jaw Part 1“. Here in this article we will be discussing briefly about the prevention and treatment of osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Osteonecrosis-exposed bone on the right edentulous region of the lower jaw

How is osteonecrosis of the jaw treated?

Osteonecrosis can either be treated conservatively, or surgically:

i) Conservative treatment

Conservative treatment basically means that no active treatment is done that is directly addressing the problem. Usually, patients who present with osteonecrosis of the jaw are started on antibacterial rinses (eg: Chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash), antibiotics and oral analgesics. Continue reading

Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Part 1

In this article we will be discussing questions about osteonecrosis of the jaw such as :

What is it?

How does it happen?

What are the causes & risks for osteonecrosis of the jaw?

What are bisphosphonates?

Should I be concerned if I am on bisphosphonates?

Why is osteonecrosis of the jaw dangerous?

The treatment and prevention of osteonecrosis of the jaw will be further discussed in the article “Osteonecrosis of the Jaw Part 2”.

Osteonecrosis- exposed bone that does not heal in the right edentulous region of the lower jaw.

What is osteonecrosis of the jaw?

“Osteonecrosis” is made up of the words “osteo”, which means bone, and “necrosis” which means death of cells. Hence “osteonecrosis” of the jaw bone means death of cells in the jaw bones. It is diagnosed when an area of bone is exposed and shows no sign of healing or gum growing over it 8 weeks after an invasive dental procedure, such as tooth extraction or implant surgeries. Both the upper and lower jaw may be affected, and it may be associated with pain, numbness, swelling and infection of the affected site. The damage to the jaw bone is irreversible, and if left untreated, can spread and can cause devastating damages, even to the point of death. Continue reading


What is radiation therapy?

Using of ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells.

How does radiotherapy work?

Radiation therapy kills cells by interacting with the water molecules which are present in our cell. Charged molecules will be produced and distrupt the biochemical process of our cells. (DNA is damaged) Continue reading

Side effects of radiotherapy to the head and neck on the mouth



Radiotherapy is one of 3 treatment options that can be used to treat tumours, the other 2 being surgical removal and chemotherapy. Sometimes these therapies are used in combination with each other. There are many structures in the head and neck, therefore radiation to the head and neck area (could be due to oral, nose, skin etc cancers) can cause a multitude of complications as listed below: Continue reading