The pros of silver diamine fluoride for cancer clients

Ashley S. Crofoot

Would not it be good if no just one had to practical experience most cancers and the psychological, actual physical, and money turmoil it brings about in a person’s lifestyle? Unfortunately, there will continue on to be most cancers diagnoses and treatment plans, so as overall health-treatment vendors, we must comprehend the doable aspect effects and collaborate with the professional medical community to support alleviate poor oral wellness results as considerably as doable for this populace.

Oral problems from most cancers therapies are far more prevalent than most folks know and are not limited to therapies that target head and neck cancers. In reality, about 40% of patients who acquire chemotherapy, approximately 80% who get stem mobile transplants, and almost all who obtain head and neck radiation working experience oral issues.1 These could include things like, but are not confined to, oral mucositis, dry mouth, caries, osteoradionecrosis, periodontal ailment, nerve harm, increased bleeding, dry mouth, a transform in style, inflammation, trismus, candida, dysphagia, and agony.2 Some of the facet effects will subside, but for several sufferers, there are extensive-long lasting poor wellbeing outcomes. We require to link with oncologists, teach them about what dental experts can supply, and start off utilizing a noninvasive procedure for the duration of energetic cancer therapies.

Considering the fact that several people expertise cancer cure oral side consequences, it is encouraged that they see their dentist at least a person month before undergoing remedy to tackle all oral infections and comprehensive any invasive treatment method, at the very least 14 times before head and neck radiation therapy starts off, and seven to 10 times just before myelosuppressive chemotherapy commences.3 Even with the very best of intentions, this does not often transpire, and normally any dental procedure will need to have to wait around until eventually immediately after cancer therapies are completed.

According to Kris Potts, BS, RDH, FAADH, proprietor of Oral Overall health Marketing Methods, prevention or “prehabilitation concepts” as she refers to them, are very important in supporting to reduce the oral outcomes of cancer therapies. Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH, of Facet Result Aid, claimed, “Many periods most cancers individuals are not advised to go to the dentist in advance of cure. We will need to feel about all most cancers people, not just individuals who are caries vulnerable. Even if we see them prior to procedure, items change all through procedure.”

Susan Cotten, BS, RDH, OMT, and the creator of the Cotten Technique of oral cancer screening, implies, “We need to see most cancers individuals after a week and be proactive. Matters come about so speedy in the mouth, and we have to continue to be on major of it.” She endorses obtaining a dental hygienist in every cancer cure facility. They could glance at the position of the mucositis and other sores and implement silver diamine fluoride as essential immediately after a consultation.

Oral facet results from most cancers therapies can be distressing (in particular mucositis) and impact a person’s skill to execute oral hygiene, take in, snooze, drink, discuss, and swallow, which affects general nutrition and health and fitness as very well as high quality of lifestyle.4 There is usually dentinal hypersensitivity, which can be the result of vomiting following chemotherapy.2 Oral issues maximize the risk of remedy delays, may have an affect on dosages of the therapies, and can increase the want to halt treatment altogether, so influencing therapy results. Salivary glands can also be afflicted, ensuing in a decrease of saliva, which improves the hazard for oral infections.

These sufferers require good nourishment but generally are not able to tolerate ingesting, so they may consume “health shakes.” Lots of overall health shakes have a higher sugar content, and when put together with very poor oral hygiene and a minimized salivary flow, they can considerably maximize the hazard for caries. Patients will most likely be doing very little if any chewing and subsequently will develop up more plaque biofilm than usual. Blended with the sugar, lack of saliva, and bad oral cleanliness, this is a recipe for catastrophe in the mouth.

Even while these individuals have oral facet results, we commonly do not see them throughout lively most cancers cure and many do not see a dental experienced in advance of their cancer therapy begins. In accordance to Potts, individuals are most susceptible to infection when they are in the nadir section (Latin for lowest stage) and their white blood cell depend is very low. She says this is the time when it is not suggested to undertake dental therapy because anything at all that can initiate bleeding or introduce micro organism is not advised.

It is suggested that fluoride trays be used during and following most cancers therapies. Meyer-Lippert explains that people typically have problem donning trays and have a challenging time tolerating them simply because of an increase in their gag reflex, or they have mucositis, which will make it unpleasant to put on the trays. Making use of SDF as an adjunct can alleviate some of this tension, which is improved for therapeutic. If a patient undergoes radiation to the head and neck, hopefully the person will be recommended to wear a guard or splint if they have amalgam. The radiation hits the metal, which results in backscatter radiation, which increases the incidence of mucositis and can change the remedy timetable.5

Even if a most cancers affected individual must not get classic dental treatment options, we should not enable them put up with with a toothache, sensitive enamel, or mouth sores. If there is infection, possibly tooth or periodontally connected, these sufferers are at greater risk for very poor outcomes and problems even though undergoing most cancers therapies. Even if tailor made fluoride trays are recommended, it is possible that the client will not be capable to tolerate these trays the moment mucositis sets in. If they are in nadir, classic dental treatment plans will be out of the issue. Fluoride trays depend on client enthusiasm. People may have issues wearing them during cure they may well will need to just take breaks if nausea, tissue tenderness, or ulcerations grow to be an issue.

What can we do?

I suggest that we see cancer sufferers for noninvasive silver diamine fluoride treatment right before, during, and following their cancer therapies to enable cease the development of carious lesions, avert new carious lesions, relieve sensitivity, and minimize biofilm. Occasionally cancer clients are advised not to use a toothbrush or clean up interproximally, but new experiments dispel this guidance. We know what takes place when they are not in a position to clean—higher figures of microorganisms and biofilm demineralizing the tooth. What about periodontal well being if they can’t accomplish good everyday oral hygiene? This potential customers to perio challenges, amplified probability of inflammation, an infection, abscesses, lousy therapeutic because of to a compromised immune procedure, extra bacterial advancement, and more dental condition. It’s a vicious cycle, and that is why it’s critical to undertake Potts’ “prehabilitation ideas.”

Cotten claims that not only are patients who have head and neck radiation remedy incredibly prone to osteoradionecrosis, but they will likely have lifelong aspect effects from the treatment. She claims that these sufferers will likely have issues swallowing and that there can be damage to the epiglottis, which raises the opportunity of aspiration. I discovered from Cotten that sufferers who have had radiation to the neck have an increased chance of injury to the baroreceptors in the carotid artery. This can also take place in clients who have had chest radiation, head and neck surgical procedure, and strokes that involve the brainstem nuclei.6

This harm can trigger baroreflex failure, which makes it additional tough for these people to maintain their blood pressure, raising the incidence of syncope, hypotension, and labile hypertension.6 It is probably that they simply cannot tolerate becoming supine, may perhaps have minimal opening, could not be in a position to endure h2o sprayed in their mouth, could be vulnerable to choking and aspiration, and could be at higher danger for a health care crisis. It is possible that these people will require brief appointments that are not invasive, with treatment plans that might want to be altered and incorporate SDF.

Is SDF for adults?

You may possibly have read that SDF is only for young ones and deciduous tooth that will finally drop out. SDF can be for any one, and research is proving that. Even nevertheless it does not correct form and perform, an arrested lesion is challenging and resistant to acids. Due to the fact it is noninvasive, SDF could be an solution while a client is continue to going through cancer therapies. (Be certain to seek the advice of with the patient’s oncologist.) SDF offers the skill to relieve soreness and anxiety and can be an interim therapy to obtain some time till dental restorative treatment can be done.

SDF for people going through lively most cancers therapies is an ground breaking procedure, as most of these patients are not found by dental specialists for the duration of remedy. To date, there are no regarded reports that have been carried out on SDF for this group. If a patient is receiving head and neck radiation, they could possibly be explained to to don a protecting guard through the periods if they have amalgam fillings. This may be accurate of SDF due to the fact silver is one particular of its components, but to be harmless, normally consult with with the oncologist.

SDF pointers

It is important to check with your board of dentistry pertaining to scope of practice for dental hygienists to implement SDF. It is significant to show people shade images of SDF immediately after procedure, make clear the rewards and contraindications, and indication a consent form. The software is fast, quick, and noninvasive. But care ought to be taken if a affected person is previously struggling from mucositis, and the practitioner must not permit the SDF to touch the afflicted surfaces.

Terrific care must be taken when doing work with SDF as it can very easily spread in a patient’s mouth if accidentally bumped throughout application or managing. If there is mucositis, you can deal with the sore with Vaseline and gauze to assist stop the SDF from having on the lesion. If it does get on the lesion, it will likely outcome in a burning sensation. Constantly look at with the oncologist before any treatment method such as SDF and fluoride varnish.

SDF is not a remedy for dental caries, but it can offer an choice to help most cancers clients while they’re actively likely as a result of cancer therapy when they usually could not acquire dental treatment. It is also a excellent software in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic for the reason that it can be used with no creating any aerosols. We are at a crossroads with dental and health-related interprofessional collaboration and need to go forward to take the greatest treatment of our sufferers and let for the best health and fitness outcomes feasible, and this contains acquiring a dental hygienist in every healthcare facility.

Utilizing SDF in nondental amenities can be a method to use teledentistry, which can raise accessibility to treatment for sufferers going through energetic cancer therapies. We know that most cancers is not heading away anytime before long, and a lot of people go through from oral side results from procedure. We will need to commence considering otherwise about dental care and most cancers sufferers. Now we have far more solutions in our toolbox with the addition of SDF.

How to understand more

For much more information and facts on oral most cancers, oral effects from cancer treatment plans, prevention, prehabilitation, talking schedules, or to talk to one of them to talk at your up coming party, speak to Susan Cotten, Jill Meyer-Lippert, or Kris Potts.

Susan Cotten, BS, RDH, OMT, owner, Oral Most cancers Consulting

Jill Meyer-Lippert, RDH, founder, Facet Influence Assist Community relations manager, Customized Dental Answers

Kris Potts, BS, RDH, FAADH, proprietor, Oral Health Advertising Techniques oral-systemic wellbeing advocate

Author’s take note: I like making use of Elevate Oral Care’s Benefit Arrest SDF and FluoriMax varnish. FluoriMax is 2.5% sodium fluoride vs . the 5% most other varnishes contain, and it’s not produced from tree sap. For far more information, visit For videos and exploration on SDF, check out If you have never ever utilized SDF or want to find out additional about the method, contraindications, rewards, and challenges, make contact with Elevate Oral Care and routine a lunch and find out.


1. Dental and oral issues of most cancers remedy points. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Revised September 2016. pages/default/information/Countrywide/United states of america/Pdf/Publications/FS29_Dental_and_Oral_Fact_Sheet_Final_9.2016.pdf
2. Oral troubles of chemotherapy and head/neck radiation. Nationwide Cancer Institute.
3. Oncology pocket guide to oral health. September 2009. Countrywide Institutes of Wellbeing Countrywide Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Exploration. sites/default/data files/2017-09/oncology-guide-oral-health.pdf
4. Chemotherapy. 2016. Faculty of Dental Hygienists of Ontario.
5. Katsura K, Utsunomiya S, Abe E, et al. A study on a dental unit for the avoidance of mucosal dose enhancement induced by backscatter radiation from dental alloy in the course of external beam radiotherapy. J Radiat Res. 201657(6):709–713.
6. Aung T, Enthusiast W, Krishnamurthy M. Recurrent syncope, orthostatic hypotension and risky hypertension: believe outdoors the box. J Comm Hosp Internal Med Perspec. 20133(2).

KYLE ISAACS, BHS, RDHEP, is an expanded follow dental hygienist (EPDH) at the Benton County Oregon Wellness Expert services developing, in which she provides dental cleanliness treatment. Isaacs writes a month-to-month column for the county newsletter about distinctive oral overall health topics for a nondental viewers. She has absent into very long-time period care services, faculties, and health care workplaces to present preventive companies, but these outreach mobile clinics have been place on maintain during the pandemic. Isaacs is a speaker and can be arrived at at [email protected]

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