Teeth & Jaw

Teeth and jaw

Childhood cancer survivors may have late effects that affect the teeth and jaw.

Teeth and jaw late effects may include the following:

  • Teeth are small or do not have a normal shape.
  • The roots of the teeth are short.
  • Missing teeth.
  • New teeth come in at a later than normal age.
  • The head and face do not reach full growth.
  • Tooth enamel is not normal.
  • Salivary glands do not make enough saliva.
  • Tooth decay (including cavities) and gum disease.

Certain factors increase the risk that teeth and jaw late effects will occur.

The risk of teeth and jaw late effects may be increased in childhood cancer survivors who received any of the following:

  • Radiation therapy to the head and neck.
  • Chemotherapy to treat leukemia.
  • High-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplant and total-body irradiation (TBI) to treat neuroblastoma.

Risk may also be increased in survivors who were younger than 3 years at the time of treatment.

It is important that childhood cancer survivors have regular dental checkups to help prevent or detect infection or decay.

Teeth and jaw late effects may be caused by treatment for certain childhood cancers.

Treatment for these and other childhood cancers may cause teeth and jaw late effects:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) leukemia.
  • Neuroblastoma.
  • Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Head and neck cancers.
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer.

The Web site of the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov)