Dental treatments for preventing damage to the jawbones in people with cancer receiving radiotherapy to the head and neck

Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the jaws is a serious problem that can happen after people have radiotherapy as part of their treatment for head and neck cancer. ORN refers to the death and exposure of bone that result from damage to the tissues due to being exposed to radiation. ORN is very difficult to treat and it is important that steps are taken to prevent it. In this review, we looked at any treatments that have been used to prevent ORN. Continue reading

Amifostine may relieve symptoms of salivary gland dysfunction in head and neck cancer patients


Problems with saliva production and salivary glands are a significant and mostly permanent side effect for people after radiotherapy treatment to the head and neck. When this occurs the condition is known as dry mouth or xerostomia. Dry mouth is not measurable and is a subjective or personal expression of how the mouth feels. It can have other causes and is a consequence of the production of less saliva or by the consistency of saliva. The rate of flow of saliva in an individual’s mouth however can be measured. People who have dry mouth have a reduced quality of life. They can experience issues with taste and general discomfort, difficulties chewing, swallowing and speaking as well as tooth decay, thrush and other infections of the mouth. A wide range of drugs that work in different ways have been used to try and prevent problems with salivary glands caused by radiotherapy. Unfortunately there is currently not enough evidence to show which drugs or which type of drugs are most effective. Continue reading

New titles registered with the Cochrane Oral Health Group

It has been a bumper month for new titles at the Cochrane Oral Health Group, with a total of 5 new title registrations:

Herbal medicine for gingivitis
Matthew Leach, Lisa Thoms

A new review which will look at all herbal medicines for treating gingivitis, including gels, mouthrinses and toothpastes.

Techniques for increasing acceptance of local anaesthetic in children having dental treatment
Joana Monteiro, Susan Parekh, Paul Ashley, Aviva Petrie, Ajit Tanday

A team from the Eastman Institute at University College London has registered a new title considering different approaches to administering dental anaesthesia to children.

Assessment of radioprotective agents for adverse effects of radiotherapy in adult patients with head and neck cancer
Adriana Dibo da Cruz,  Cassia Maria Fischer Rubira, Rebeca de Souza Azevedo, Ademar Takahama-Junior, Solange Maria de Almeida, Frab Norberto Boscolo, Glaucia Maria Bovi Ambrosano

This review on the important subject of preventing the adverse effects of radiotherapy will be undertaken by a team based in Brazil.

Adjunctive surgical interventions for accelerating tooth movement in patients undergoing orthodontic treatment
Padhraig Fleming, Nicolas Pandis, A Johal

Non-surgical interventions for accelerating tooth movement in patients undergoing orthodontic treatment
Ahmed El-Angbawi, David Bearn, Grant McIntyre

These two reviews will consider surgical and non-surgical ways of speeding up tooth movement during orthodontic treatment.

Look out for the protocols on the Cochrane Library!