Published: May 2003
Prior to surgery for the removal of oral structures, a full dental examination should be performed. Radiographs necessary to confirm the status of any remaining natural teeth will be obtained. Impressions are made for study models so that surgical stents can be constructed. These temporary prostheses are inserted and further refined by the prosthodontist at the time of surgery.
The use of a surgical stent in this manner maintains oral function, enhances appearance, and supports and protects skin grafts in the sites of the surgical defect. This approach significantly reduces the duration of hospitalization that would otherwise be required. Regular adjustment of such prostheses is required to accommodate changes in the contour and consistency of adjacent tissues.
The prosthetic rehabilitation of patients whose condition has been altered by a cancer or the treatment for that cancer is also undertaken. This may include the replacement of teeth with partial or complete dentures, and the construction and delivery of prostheses to replace intra- and extra-oral structures removed surgically.
The Department of Dentistry collaborates with other disciplines (ENT, Speech Pathology, Nutrition, Social Work, etc) and Agencies, in order to optimize patient care.
Some non-cancer patients are accommodated in this programme.
Maintenance and Monitoring
The Department maintains a recall programme in order to ensure that the delivery of care following dental assessment has been appropriate to the needs of individual patients. A database is being developed with which dental care can be analyzed.
The Dental Department will offer any BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) registered patient a dental consultation as required. Care may be provided to BCCA registered patients whose dental needs arise directly from a cancer or the treatment of the cancer. The BCCA will not support the costs of care necessitated by neglect, or resulting from pre-existing dental conditions.
No dental costs will be re-imbursed retrospectively to outside practitioners. Available funds will be allocated prospectively, taking into account the merits of each treatment plan. A dental examination by an Agency staff member may be required before a proposed treatment plan is approved for funding. The services of BCCA dental consultants are provided without charge to the patients except where unrelated dental needs are to be met.
Enquiries concerning the BC Cancer Agency dental programme may be directed to the Head, Division of Dentistry.