Aim of the study: Our goal was to monitor soft tissue changes occurring during radiotherapy – both through clinical examination and using LDF – in order to establish Laser Doppler as an early diagnosis instrument in this situation, and also to assess what kind of dental procedures could be provided during radiotherapy, in order to increase patients’ quality of life.
Material and Method: Our study included two male patients, who received head and neck radiotherapy. Patient A, 68 years old, underwent 31 radiotherapy exposures. Patient B, 52 years old, underwent 24 exposures. They received a thorough clinical examination, and a LDF evaluation of gingival blood flow in areas close to the irradiated site, after the first, the 18th, and the last radiotherapy exposure.
Results: Patient A presented radiotherapy induced mucositis, after the 18th radiotherapy exposure. After the last exposure the mucositis worsened, additionally, radiodermitis appeared on the neck. LDF showed an increase in blood flow of the irradiated area, even after the first exposure, and it persisted throughout treatment. Patient B showed no clinical changes, besides a hyperkeratinisation of the gingiva in the irradiated area, after the last exposure. LDF showed an overall increase in vascularity of the area throughout treatment.
Discussion: Even after the first radiotherapy exposure, and also when clinical changes were not apparent, LDF measurements revealed an increase in blood flow in the gingiva of irradiated patients. LDF might allow us to establish the most appropriate moment in time for each dental treatment, in order to increase the quality of life.