Can I Have Braces During Chemo?

Can I Have Braces During Chemo?

May 01, 2022

Braces are dental appliances that help collect common teeth problems such as misaligned teeth, crooked teeth, or crowding in the mouth. Braces are ideal when placed at an early age. In most cases, they are for teenagers. Adults can also get them but not likely. Once fixed on your teeth, they slowly align and straighten your teeth t achieve a normal bite and have a perfect smile.

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Since the medications used are potent, they, in some cases, harm normal cells such as the ones located in the mouth. They cause problems with your gums, teeth, saliva-making glands, and the epithelial lining of your mouth.

It is not common to suffer from an infection when still undergoing treatment for another disease. Some patients often have cancer, while at the same time, they have misaligned, crooked or crowded teeth. The patient requires braces as well as chemotherapy to contain the cancerous cells.

As mentioned previously, braces primarily fit on teenagers. Cancer, on the other hand, mainly attacks adults. It’s therefore not common for cancer patients to have braces. Nonetheless, there are some exceptional cases where braces fix on adults and cancer attacks younger persons. It is, therefore, possible to have braces and require chemo.

Having braces and undergoing chemotherapy requires a lot of professionalism. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, visit a dentist capable of advising you accordingly. Weymouth Dental Associates have a very skilled dentist in Weymouth, MA. It would be best to book an appointment with them and get professional assistance.

Oral Complications Associated with Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy, like other treatment options, has its benefits and some drawbacks. Although it helps treat cancer, chemo comes with side effects, particularly in the oral cavity. They include:

  • Oral breeding
  • Mouth pain
  • Tooth loss
  • Weakness of masticatory muscles (responsible for opening and closing the mouth)
  • The bone recession results from reduced blood flow
  • Mouth dryness
  • Change in taste
  • Bacterial, fungi, and viral infections
  • Inflammation of the mucous membranes
  • Lifelong risk of tooth decay

If not checked properly, these side effects can have a tolling impact on your life. It would be best if you, therefore, committed to working with a professional dentist before, during, and after your cancer treatment.

A Solution to Braces During Chemotherapy

You should remove all fixed orthodontic appliances such as braces, retainers, Invisalign®, and splints before undergoing a high dose of chemotherapy. When released, they help limit the viral and bacterial load in the mouth, thereby minimizing the risk of developing an oral infection.

You should discuss the possibility of removing the braces during cancer treatment with your dentist, oncologist, or orthodontist. If possible, it’s advisable to first remove braces before undergoing cancer treatment since it is to the patient’s benefit.

Also, you should avoid switching to removable appliances such as retainers, primarily due to the low blood flow and mucositis. These appliances aggravate mucositis. They should only apply when there is no other option. The matter should also be subject to discussion with your orthodontist to ensure you receive chemo while avoiding worsening your dental health.

What Are the Alternatives?

A consensus amongst the dental community is that you should first cease orthodontic treatment in favor of chemotherapy. Cancer is more lethal, and doctors should give its treatment a priority. A patient should only resume orthodontic treatment after their cancer treatment completes and the patient is declared cancer-free for two years. Discuss your plans to continue orthodontic treatment with your oncology team.


Although you can have braces during cancer treatment via drugs, it is not advisable. The main goal when going to chemotherapy is to ensure the viral or bacterial load is almost zero in the mouth. Orthodontists also provide their patients with good oral health before chemo to minimize the side effects caused by the drugs.

When you visit the dentist before chemotherapy, they treat any broken, decayed, or other dental infection in the mouth. They then ensure your dentures fit perfectly to eliminate cases of irritation in the mouth. Lastly, they remove braces so that they don’t irritate your tongue or cheeks and heighten the level of the side effects caused in the mouth by chemo.

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