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Variations in odontological care routines for patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer in county councils/regions of Sweden

Journal article
Authors Niklas Bohm
C. Karlsson
Jessica Skoogh Andersson
Annica Almståhl
Published in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research
ISSN 2057-4347
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Odontology
Language en
Keywords dental hygienist, dentist, oral cancer, oral care, questionnaire, oral toxicity management, mucositis, chemotherapy, trismus, osteoradionecrosis, radiotherapy, smoking, agents, Dentistry, Oral Surgery & Medicine
Subject categories Dentistry


Objective To investigate current odontological care routines for patients treated for head and neck cancers in the county councils/regions (C/Rs) of Sweden. Methods An invitation to fill in a web-based questionnaire was sent to dentists/dental hygienists working in dental clinics in the 12 C/Rs, treating and responsible for the odontological care of patients undergoing treatment for cancer of the head and neck. The questionnaire started with two mandatory and one non-mandatory questions, followed by questions regarding routines before (n = 28), during (n = 23), and after (n = 9) treatment, plus two additional questions, totalling 65 questions. Results Four dental hygienists and six dentists in 10 of the 12 C/Rs answered the questionnaire. Three C/Rs stated that they measure both the unstimulated and stimulated salivary secretion rate, and another C/R stated that they measure the stimulated secretion rate only. Similar recommendations were given regarding oral hygiene, salivary stimulants and substitutes, and extra fluoride. However, great variations were seen regarding recommendations for preventing and relieving oral mucositis. There were also discrepancies regarding information about the importance of avoiding smoking and alcohol. In seven C/Rs, patients visited the dental hygienist once a week during cancer treatment. Conclusion The results suggests that there are great variations in odontological care given to patients undergoing treatment for cancer of the head and neck region in different county councils/regions in Sweden. There is a need to develop and implement evidence-based guidelines to decrease the risk of oral complications and increase both the quality of life and the quality of care.

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