Use of dentures, receipt of information, quality of life and oral function following radiotherapy for head and neck cancer

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Abstract

Background: Teeth with a poor prognosis are often extracted prior to radiotherapy for head and neck cancer (HNC) in order to help prevent the need for dental treatment after radiotherapy that might in turn lead to the development of osteoradionecrosis. However, the details and impact of replacing missing teeth after radiotherapy for HNC have received little attention, especially from the patients’ perspective. Aims: This study aimed to assess the use, satisfaction and impact of denture use following radiotherapy for HNC. The study also sought to determine patients’ satisfaction with information about replacing their missing teeth post-radiotherapy. Finally, this study also aimed to assess interest in replacing missing teeth for those who had not done so. Methods: A structured, validated and reliable questionnaire was sent to HNC patients who had received radiotherapy and had missing teeth at the time of discharge. In addition to demographic details and self-reported oral hygiene, the questionnaire included questions on use of (or interest in) dentures, satisfaction with dentures, satisfaction with information about replacing missing teeth, QoL as measured by two questions from the short version of WHOQoL-BREF, and oral functioning as measured by BCSQ-H&N. Demographic details and clinical details were extracted from the hospital records. Results: N=80 (24%) returned a completed questionnaire. Participants had an average of 12 missing teeth (SD=8.05). Most (n=60, 75%) had not replaced their missing teeth. Of these, 35 (58%) were very or extremely interested in doing so. For HNC survivors who wore dentures, there was variable satisfaction and a number of side-effects of wearing dentures. Satisfaction with information about replacing missing teeth was low. There was no statistical difference in QoL or oral functioning between participants who wore dentures and participants who did not wear dentures. However, those with dentures reported fewer problems with carrying out daily routines as measured by the oral functioning tool. Conclusions: QoL and oral functioning were similar regardless of denture use, highlighting reduced oral function in both those with and without dentures. In those who had not replaced their missing teeth, there was substantial interest in doing so and thus may be an unmet need. The dental team could offer HNC survivors more support after radiotherapy and following denture provision to improve information about denture use and increase satisfaction with dentures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-487
Number of pages13
JournalSPECIAL CARE IN DENTISTRY
Volume40
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020

Keywords

  • dentures
  • head and neck neoplasms
  • oral functioning
  • quality of life
  • radiotherapy
  • satisfaction
  • teeth extraction

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