Chasing the Cure: How Conquering Cancer Could Result in Tooth Decay

chasing the cure

At just 13 years old, Quendella defeated nasopharyngeal (head and neck) cancer – a feat no one, let alone someone so young, should ever have to face. She came out the other side and has the rest of her life ahead of her, but with the unanticipated problem of extensive tooth decay hanging over her and preventing her from fully living the life she fought so hard for.

Tooth Decay as a Result of Radiation

By age 22, the radiation from her cancer treatment completely destroyed her teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay so extensive, nearly all of her teeth have fallen out. Tooth decay to this degree following radiation treatment or chemotherapy is a common fate many patients experience, but few know about beforehand.

Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can upset the healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth and salivary glands. This upset can lead to infections, sores and in Quendella’s case, tooth decay and eventually tooth loss. While there are some oral practices that can ease the impact of radiation treatment on teeth and gums like the use of fluoride gel before during and after chemotherapy, some cases may not be salvageable, and may require tooth extractions and extensive – and costly – surgery to completely restore the teeth and mouth.

Community Support Through Chasing the Cure

With a large social media following, Quendella had the platform – and courage – to speak out about her personal experience with cancer, the aftermath of radiation, and the daily struggle with her self-confidence. The support was resounding, with peers and fans alike commending her for her bravery for speaking out publicly and her strength in carrying on with her life bearing this weight every day. Her online attention caught the eye of TNT’s Chasing the Cure with Ann Curry, a show that aims to help those suffering with “undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or uncured medical mysteries,” in addition to the attention of a team of dental specialists, including Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery’s own Dr. Abtin Shahriari.

Dr. Abtin and the team of specialists have made it their mission to restore Quendella’s smile and get her back to living the life she deserves – free of charge. On Chasing the Cure’s episode “Quendella Meets with Specialists,” Quendella was introduced to the team and began her journey towards regaining her beautiful smile. Her case is quite complicated, as the infection and tooth decay is so extensive, tooth extraction and restoring doesn’t appear to be an immediate option. The process will be a long one as Dr. Abtin and the team of specialists investigate the best course of action for Quendella. In the meantime, they created some beautiful dentures to take the place of the fake, stick-on teeth Quendella had been using for some time. Tune in to Chasing the Cure to see Quendella’s story unfold.

Call Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery for a Consultation Today

If you or a loved one are facing extensive tooth decay or other dental concern, contact us today to consider your options and learn what Greater Atlanta Oral Facial Surgery can do for you.