Oncology is the specialty of medicine that focuses on cancer treatment and management. But cancer and its treatments can also affect the mouth, which is why some dentists are specially trained as dental oncologists to help care for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
A dental oncologist is not equivalent to an oncologist for oral cancer, but rather, dental oncologists help manage the oral effects of chemotherapy and radiation. As the American Cancer Society notes, 1,762,450 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2019. As a study in Support Care Cancer explains, the majority of these cancer patients — more than 85% — will experience oral side effects, most notably dry mouth and loss of taste. Their dental oncology specialist is there to help.