Dental Implants For Oral Cancer Patients

Oral cavity cancer is a disease that causes malignant tumors to form in the oral cavity. It is estimated that 39,500 people will get this disease or the closely related oropharyngeal cancer in 2015 alone, and around 7,500 people will die from those cancers. For the people who successfully beat oral cavity cancer, there is sometimes a need for reconstructive procedures. Dental implants are a common treatment for oral cavity cancer patients. If you or a loved one is fighting this type of cancer, here are a few things you need to know about dental implants and oral cavity cancer.

Cancer Treatment May Result In A Loss Of Tissue

In order to remove the cancer, you may require surgery to remove some of the tissue in your mouth. This can include gum tissue, which may impact your teeth. You might have to have teeth extracted to get to the underlying cancer cells for successful treatment. Your doctor can prepare you for this outcome, but it may still be difficult to deal with emotionally. Talk to your doctor about rehabilitative and restorative options and when they can be performed. In some cases, doctors will attempt high-tech dental implants and other procedures at the same time as your cancer surgery to reduce the need for multiple procedures.

Dental Implants Are Different From Dentures

Dental implants and dentures are different. Some patients may not be able to wear dentures at all after oral cancer, depending on the condition of the mouth tissues. Dental implants are a permanent alternative to dentures that don't put the same stress on your gums. Dental implants are anchored into the bone, giving them a similar construction to real teeth. The gum tissue does not have to support the teeth like dentures do, making dental implants a smart choice for patients with tissue loss after oral cancer surgery.

Dental Implant Care

Some of the risk factors for cancer are the same as the counter-indications for dental implants. If you are a smoker, you may be at risk for dental implant failure as well as oral cancer. Work with your team of doctors to quit smoking and begin following a healthy lifestyle regimen. You may experience difficulty chewing or swallowing as a result of your cancer treatment. If chewing becomes painful talk to your doctors to make sure that there isn't an issue with your new implants. Follow-up care for your implants should include regular brushing and visits to your dentist.

There is hope for treatment of oral cavity cancer and reconstruction of your teeth and tissues. Talk to your cancer treatment team and a dentist, like Benjamin D Hull DDS, about dental implants to see if they are the right solution for your post-cancer care.