Treatment for head and neck cancers affect the oral cavity. Such treatment can include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Radiation affects the salivary glands by destroying its capability to produce saliva. Dry mouth or xerostomia results, life-long dental support would be needed to limit the detrimental effects of the radiation treatment such as radiation cavities, trismus (deviated mouth opening), and jaw bone death (osteonecrosis).
Chemotherapy treatment would need special dental support during the chemotherapy phase of the cancer treatment. Focus would be on treating oral complications such as oral tissue irritation from fungal, bacterial, and/or fungal origins, damage of tooth enamel from stomach acids from vomiting, neurotoxicity causing general mouth pain and bleeding gums from decreased blood platelets (neutropenia).