Therapeutics Advances
Copyright ©2013 Baishideng Publishing Group Co.
World J Stomatol. Nov 20, 2013; 2(4): 71-78
Published online Nov 20, 2013. doi: 10.5321/wjs.v2.i4.71
Table 1 Common complications of the head and neck region following radiotherapy
ComplicationCharacteristicsTime of appearancePrognosis
Erythema/ radiodermatitisRedness/decreased skin thickness; skin dryness due to epidermal basal cell damageImmediateReversible
MucositisGeneralized inflammation of the oral mucosa due to basal cell damage; scaling, mucosal ulcerationsImmediateReversible
DysgeusiaAltered taste (especially to sour and acid tastes) due to taste bud damageImmediateReversible
GlossodyniaPain and burning sensation in the tongue due to taste bud damage and inflammationImmediateReversible
Candidiasis and Herpes simplexSecondary infections resulting from loss of mucosal protection caused by mucositis and xerostomiaImmediateReversible
XerostomiaDecrease in salivary flow and dryness of the mouth caused by alterations in salivary glandsImmediateIrreversible at high radiation doses (more than 60 Gy)
Periodontal diseaseInflammation of the periodontium due to augmented plaque from decreased salivary flowImmediateReversible
AlopeciaHair loss from hair follicle atrophyImmediateReversible
Severe necrosisLoss of tissue, scurvy and malodorous ulcerationsImmediateIrreversible
TrismusReduced mouth opening caused by fibrosis of the muscles of mastication or of the temporomandibular jointMedium-termReversible/irreversible
CariesDamage to the cement-enamel junction, incisal edges and cusps caused by decreased salivationMedium-termIrreversible
DysphagiaDifficulty swallowing food caused by oropharyngeal alterations; may be evidenced by malnutritionMedium-termReversible
Dental hypersensitivityDental sensitivity caused by radiationMedium-termReversible
OsteoradionecrosisAseptic necrosis of the irradiated boneLateIrreversible
Tooth germ alterationsAlteration in odontogenesis in pediatric patientsLateIrreversible
Pulp necrosis and painPulp necrosis and painLateIrreversible