Oral Medicine| Volume 93, ISSUE 1, P35-38, January 2002

Dental follow-up compliance in a population of irradiated head and neck cancer patients


      Objective: This study assessed post–radiation therapy dental follow-up compliance in a population of head and neck cancer patients. Study Design: A total of 334 dental charts were retrospectively reviewed to determine the follow-up status of dentate patients. All patients were informed of the importance of returning, after completing radiotherapy, for regular follow-up dental examinations on an indefinite basis. Data regarding compliance with these follow-up instructions over time were obtained. Results: Approximately 170 (51%) of the 334 dentate patients were identified as being lost to dental follow-up. The mean point in time at which follow-up failure occurred was 7.5 months after the initial preirradiation dental examination. Conclusion: Dental follow-up compliance may be poor in this irradiated patient population, with follow-up failures potentially occurring less than 1 year after the completion of radiotherapy. Preradiation dental care planning must take into account the likelihood of patients being lost to follow-up. (Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2002;93:35-8)
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