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Note: This section has health/medical information. It was not written by a health care professional. The medical referencs is:
- Childhood Cancer Survivors: A Practical Guide to Your Future, By Nancy Keene, Wendy Hobbie, Kathy Ruccione, November 2006
Cranial radiation affects the formation of teeth. Parents of children who have undergone such treatment report that the child's teeth "are a mess". More cavities, less saliva, receding gum lines, baby teeth that do not fall out but reabsorb leaving an enamel husk, these are some of the problems reported by parents.
Chemotherapy alone does not seem to cause as many long term problems. However, fevers and infections, which can be common during chemo treatment, can discolor teeth if they occur during the formation of teeth. Yellow teeth are more commonly seen in the chemo kids than in their brothers and sisters. Some parents report areas on their child's teeth that do not have enamel and are therefore more susceptible to decay.
Here's a partial list of long term effects of chemotherapy and radiation as researched by Nancy Keene:
- absent teeth.
- abnormally small teeth (microdontia).
- short or thin roots.
- small crowns.
- malocclusion (poor bite).
- poor enamel.
- incomplete calcification.
- frequent cavities.
- enlarged pulp chambers.
- over-retention of primary teeth.