How can my teeth be replaced?
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
One of the most frustrating aspects of treating jaw tumors involves the loss of teeth. These teeth are usually "innocent bystanders" which are removed because they sit in the affected jaw bone. Unfortunately, we must prioritize tumor removal over saving teeth. It's rarely a good idea to take chances and risk tumor recurrence in order to save teeth.
The greatest challenge to replacing teeth after tumor surgery is not the bone, but the soft tissue. Changes in the shape, thickness, and quality of soft tissue make the lining of the mouth different from the normal gums. This can be due to scarred tissue, missing tissue, and thickened tissue such as skin from the leg (you fibula patients know what I mean). This often prevents the use of traditional dentures.
These soft tissue challenges can usually be overcome with dental implants. Rather than having a denture sitting on mobile soft tissue (which only produces a mobile denture) the implants provide anchors in the bone to secure a bridge of teeth. Dental implants can be thought of as "artificial roots" which allow crowns or a bridge to be attached.
The greatest challenge to replacing teeth after tumor surgery is not the bone, but the soft tissue.