Dental Oncology Clinic Provides Specialized Care
The College of Dentistry has trained an expert eye on a special population in need—those patients who are undergoing or have undergone cancer treatments. Newly opened in January, the college’s Dental Oncology Clinic in Postle Hall serves patients who are in all stages of cancer care, providing clearances for patients beginning certain oncologic treatments and providing routine, comprehensive dental care to patients once they have beat cancer.
New faculty member Hayley Freymiller, DMD, assistant professor-practice, Division of General Practice and Materials Science, is the clinic’s director.
“Without proper dental care and maintenance, this population often ends up with rampant decay, trismus, and less often but even more so catastrophically, with osteoradionecrosis (ORN) or medication related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ).”
“Patients who have undergone radiation therapy, chemotherapy or bisphosphonate therapy can pose difficult challenges to the dental practitioner who is not used to working with this population,” said Dr. Freymiller, who completed a fellowship in Dental Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after finishing The Ohio State University College of Dentistry’s General Practice Residency program. “Without proper dental care and maintenance, this population often ends up with rampant decay, trismus, and less often but even more so catastrophically, with osteoradionecrosis (ORN) or medication related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). This clinic was created to serve as a dental home for these patients.”
Dr. Freymiller said the Dental Oncology Clinic’s setting in the college is extremely beneficial to cancer patients because it facilitates easier coordination with their other medical treatments and procedures. And coordination by the clinic's two patient care coordinators enhances the process of ensuring patients are seen by the specialists they require based on their specific dental needs. “Extensive planning and collaboration with medical and radiation oncologists is an everyday occurrence to ensure that dental treatments are not being done in areas that have received high doses of radiation or that blood counts are at adequate levels to perform even a routine cleaning,” she said.
Dr. Freymiller said the response from both physicians and patients has been overwhelmingly positive. “The physicians love the communication that happens between our clinic and their office, and the patients love the individualized attention they receive.”