What can be done for chemo patients' sensitivity?

May 27, 2005
Hygienist attempts to find a solution for patient's sister, who is recuperating from cancer treatment.

Hi, I am a hygienist working in Milwaukee, WI. I have a patient who has asked me for some advice. Her sister has cancer and because of all the chemo and radiation therapy she has undergone she is experiencing chronic sensitivity. Up to this point, she has been using Sensodyne with only a little relief. I gave my patient samples of Prevident to try for one week and to let me know. I have some other ideas that I will try but happened to see your OMNII's home prescription therapy and was curious. Would you give me some information so I can determine if this might be an option for this patient?

Response from Wendy Negron: I would love to help you out in any way possible. I am a hygienist and work as a product manager for OMNII Oral Pharmaceuticals, and I know how it feels to hear a patient talk about their own or their loved ones' concerns on oral health.

I am going to give you the very best treatment available to assist with your patient's sister and other patients you may encounter that suffer with hypersensitivity. In your email, I noticed you gave the patient Prevident 5,000ppm fluoride dentifrice. This is a great product; however, it has its limitations. Fluorides still need the calcium and phosphate found in the saliva in order to be effective. If the saliva composition is altered, it becomes difficult for the patient to receive maximum results from the treatment. Calcium and phosphate found in the saliva continuously remineralizes the tooth when acidic challenges occur.

Because of the treatment this patient has undergone, the saliva no longer exists, and sensitivity becomes an issue.

I would first start the patient off with an in-office fluoride varnish booster. Fluoride varnish has such a large loading dose that can initiate the whole remineralization process. In recent articles, it has been recommended to give the patient three applications of fluoride varnish within two weeks.

Now, as a home care treatment option, SootheRx is a wonderful product because it contains calcium, sodium, and phosphate, the same minerals found in saliva and in the enamel of your teeth. SootheRx is activated by water (wetting your toothbrush before brushing) once it is placed in the mouth; it releases Na which helps raise the pH in the mouth to a level where remineralization can occur. The Ca and the PO is slowly and continuously released and incorporated into the tooth, occluding those open dentinal tubules that are causing the sensitivity to occur.

What's great about this product is that you use the tube twice a day for two weeks and then you move to a once a week booster. She can return back to her regular toothpaste but still have the benefit of SootheRx by using it just once a week. Other products out there have similar technologies and I call them the first generation medications, which use amoprhous calcium and phosphate (without shape) that are easily washed away with acidic attacks. SootheRx, on the other hand, incorporates itself into the tooth and is not washed away by acidic challenges but aids in the continual remineralization of the tooth.

Debbie, I would be more than happy to talk to you over the phone, you can contact me at (800) 445-3386. My email address is [email protected].

Wendy Negron, RDH, MS, is a product manager OMNII Oral Pharmaceuticals.