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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Osteoradionecrosis prevention myths

Michael J Wahl
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2006 March 1, 64 (3): 661-9
16458773

PURPOSE: To critically analyze controversial osteoradionecrosis (ORN) prevention techniques, including preradiation extractions of healthy or restorable teeth and the use of prophylactic antibiotics or hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatments for preradiation and postradiation extractions.

METHODS: The author reviewed ORN studies found on PubMed and in other article references, including studies on overall ORN incidence and pre- and postradiation incidence, with and without prophylactic HBO or antibiotics.

RESULTS: Owing in part to more efficient radiation techniques, the incidence of ORN has been declining in radiation patients over the last 2 decades, but the prevention of ORN remains controversial. A review of the available literature does not support the preradiation extraction of restorable or healthy teeth. There is also insufficient evidence to support the use of prophylactic HBO treatments or prophylactic antibiotics before extractions or other oral surgical procedures in radiation patients.

CONCLUSIONS: To prevent ORN, irradiated dental patients should maintain a high level of oral health. A preradiation referral for a dental evaluation and close collaboration by a multidisciplinary team can be invaluable for radiation patients. As with most other dental patients, restorable and healthy teeth should be retained in irradiated patients. The use of prophylactic HBO or antibiotics should be reconsidered for preradiation and postradiation extractions.

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