[Chronic radiation effects on dental hard tissue (radiation caries). Classification and therapeutic strategies].

Universitätsklinik und -poliklinik für Mund-, Kiefer- und Gesichtschirurgie, Mainz.
Strahlentherapie und Onkologie (Impact Factor: 4.16). 03/2001; 177(2):96-104.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Since the first description of rapid destruction of dental hard tissues following head and neck radiotherapy 80 years ago, "radiation caries" is an established clinical finding. The internationally accepted clinical evaluation score RTOG/EORTC however is lacking a classification of this frequent radiogenic alteration.
Medical records, data and images of radiation effects on the teeth of more than 1,500 patients, who underwent periradiotherapeutic care, were analyzed. Macroscopic alterations regarding the grade of late lesions of tooth crowns were used for a classification into 4 grades according to the RTOG/EORTC guidelines.
No early radiation effects were found by macroscopic inspection. In the first 90 days following radiotherapy 1/3 of the patients complained of reversible hypersensitivity, which may be related to a temporary hyperemia of the pulp. It was possible to classify radiation caries as a late radiation effect on a graded scale as known from RTOG/EORTC for other organ systems. This is a prerequisite for the integration of radiation caries into the international nomenclature of the RTOG/EORTC classification.
The documentation of early radiation effects on dental hard tissues seems to be neglectable. On the other hand the documentation of Late radiation effects has a high clinical impact. The identification of an initial lesion at the high-risk areas of the neck and incisal part of the tooth can lead to a successful therapy as a major prerequisite for orofacial rehabilitation. An internationally standardized documentation is a basis for the evaluation of the side effects of radiooncotic therapy as well as the effectiveness of protective and supportive procedures.

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