Did you know chemo can cause issues with your teeth? I didn’t- But now I do!

Because I need a root canal.

Musical theatre reference courtesy of Steve Martin. Image courtesy of pinterest.

Here’s the scoop: I’ve had a spot of sensitivity since my last cleaning in December or January. (Who really knows when; it’s all a blur.) Then I got diagnosed, started my medication, and bam!  Excruciating pain since last Friday. My oncologist advised me to hold off on my medication to see if it was a side effect. No such luck. I went to the dentist this past Wednesday. I was x-rayed and the proclamation was made: it was time for a good old-fashioned drill party. (But first, I needed my doctor’s approval and over a week of antibiotics to make sure an infection doesn’t occur.)

Evidently, when you are on my medication, it can cause dry mouth. Not a huge deal, but your saliva is actually a key player in making sure debris doesn’t hang out in your teeth for too long. (Everything bagel or not, all food needs some help.) No saliva leads to more hidden issues, which leads to more cavities. Or in my case, do not pass go, do not collect $200, get a root canal.

This Thursday, I’ll have my tooth root-canaled (is that a verb?), head into school to run a 1 PM rehearsal, then hopefully get cleared to start my medication again.

By the time I get started again, I’ll have been off my chemo meds for about two weeks. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but even if my tumor hangs out and doesn’t grow in that time, my body already has no idea which way is up or down. Right now, it’s having a full out MTV Spring Break of a time. “No medication?! Awesome! Here’s your energy and appetite back! Go wild!” Next week, I’m anticipating a bit of a challenge as I get acclimated all over again.

I’m trying to think of this as less like a road block and more like a detour. I have a lot of great things to focus on: the astounding progress we’ve made with the DTRF Fundraiser, the great retreat I went on this past weekend, and a musical opening this Friday that I’ve been working on since November. I’ll be honest though: even when I feel Pollyanna about it, I’m still in more pain than I’d like and have developed a borderline addiction to Orajel.

The moral of the story: if you have a diagnosis like mine, even when you brush and floss, expect the unexpected. The detour will arise inevitably. Best advice I’ve got at this point: pack easy-to-chew snacks and have people you like along for the ride.

8 thoughts on “Detour.”

  1. Babe, do you remember my dental care obsession?? How i have been obsessed with the dentist since childhood? So much so that in first grade my teacher assigned me St. Apolonia in the Saint presentation. I wanted to do the whole knock the teeth out jump in flames scene, but my teacher insisted i just introduce myself. People are boring. Whatever, i am over it now. I will throw her a prayer for you, may she protect your mouth throughout this detour and beyond 💗


    1. This is AMAZING. I wish little Mari had been given permission to do this! People ARE too boring for you, magical friend. Love you! ❤️


  2. I too have an addiction to orajel for a totally different problem also caused by drymouth side effects from a medication.
    Mouth pain suuuuucks – hope it gets better soon so you can get back to kicking this tumor’s butt!


  3. When I get chemo breaks, I consider them a gift. For ‘X’ amount of time, My stomach will feel better, time in the bathroom will be more towards normal, (in my current case) the swelling in my legs and body will go down a little bit, and I’ll have a chance to just breathe. Don’t kid yourself. Evil Mr. Cancer will be blindsided when you bring your chemo back. Savor this week off from chemo and good luck. ❤️


    1. Not to compare, but I don’t think my chemo is nowhere near as bad as yours, Mrs. Daddario! You’re inspiring – leave it to you to find a positive perspective. Thinking of you and sending love and prayers your way!


  4. Hope your root canal went as well as possible Christina. Not sure if you know I am a hygienist so if you need anything ( samples recommendations questions ) I’m happy to help.. Will drop off some samples for dry mouth to your moms. Try Spry products for dry mouth ( available on Amazon) you may find them pretty helpful. They contain a natural product that combats dry mouth and decay called xylitol a natural sweetener. Maybe check with your doctor be sure but I have other patients who have been on chemo and found this helpful.
    Sending love your way !! 💕


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