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Oral mucositis laser treatment

We know many children have sore mouths during chemotherapy, radiotherapy or following bone marrow transplant. Some also have ulcers and can find eating and drinking difficult. Occasionally children may have to come into hospital for pain relief and fluids.

What is low level laser treatment?

We use a laser which has a red light. It looks a bit like a small sonic screwdriver.

We shine it where it hurts in your mouth or throat. Over time, your mouth becomes less sore. It also helps your mouth to heal faster and better. We can do this up to 5 times per week. Some children who are having a bone marrow transplant may have it just before they start treatment to help reduce soreness in their mouth.

What will it feel like?

  • We will use a red light and shine it next to your neck or in your mouth.
  • It will last for a couple of seconds.
  • It will not touch the sore part of your mouth or hurt in any way.
  • We will give you special glasses to wear and you must not look at the red light as it may hurt your eyes.

Are there any alternatives to laser treatment?

At the moment we use different medicines and ice chips to treat your sore mouth. We may still have to use them but maybe for not as long and perhaps in smaller amounts if you decide to have laser treatment.

What are the benefits of laser treatment for me?

It will help your sore mouth to heal faster and feel better more quickly.

Are there any side effects?

There are no known side effects, but we do protect your eyes with special glasses.

Who decides if I need laser treatment?

A doctor or dentist will come and look at your sore mouth. They will ask you about how sore it is and if you can eat and drink properly.

A dentist or nurse, who is trained in using the laser, will come and talk to you about the laser and give you a chance to ask more questions.

Your parent or carer will be asked to sign a form to confirm that you both agree to your treatment. Once you and your parent or carer have agreed to it, you will then come to the dental room on clinic with your parent or carer and we will carry out the treatment. It only takes a few minutes.

Can my parent or carer stay with me?

Of course, they will be with you all the time.

How will I feel after the treatment?

Some children say their mouths feel less sore and uncomfortable after treatment.

Further resources

The Oncology Guide is a great family friendly guide to cancer, treatment and procedures.

Please read our resource for more information about risks of anaesthetics.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: ONC1

Resource Type: Article

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