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The effect of radiotherapy of tooth vitality in cancer patients

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    Does radiotherapy to the head and neck cause short- or long-term loss of vitality to teeth?. A feasibility study.



  • Contact name

    Surina Bhola

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 0 months, 1 days

  • Research summary

    The National Cancer Institute describes Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) as those that arise in the tissues and organs of the head and neck region. Radiotherapy is considered one of the main treatment modalities for this kind of cancer. Short term side effects of radiotherapy include a dry mouth and sore tissues, and the long-term side effects that have been reported include dental decay and a reduction in blood supply to the bone, leading to an increased risk of infections.

    Vitality testing is a way to determines the health of either the nerve or blood supply to teeth. There have been some published reports on the effects of radiation to the head and neck on the bloody supply to teeth but not enough to ascertain a definitive answer as many of the studies are in vitro, based on histological studies. A lack of blood supply indicates an unhealthy tooth, which is likely to be painful or infected in the future.

    This clinical study will investigate the vitality (assessment of blood flow) of teeth pre and post-radiotherapy for Head and Neck cancer, and if there is any loss of blood supply, if this leads to any further sequelae, e.g. removal of teeth, or dental pain. This will be done using Laser Doppler Flowmetry (LDF), a painless extra oral device used as a gold standard in assessing blood supply to the dental pulp, which involves using a small probe on the tooth surface to obtain a reading. This is a routine procedure which is used as a diagnostic tool in Dentistry.

  • REC name

    Wales REC 5

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    10 Feb 2023

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion

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