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How Your Oral Surgeon Could Help with Oral Cancer

Posted on 10/20/2016 by administrative
A diagram of how a dental implant works.
Oral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, affects thousands of people every year. It can affect just about any part of your mouth - gums, tongue, cheeks, entrance to your throat. Most commonly caused by the use of tobacco products, it can also be caused by excessive drinking or a family history. Untreated, oral cancer is fatal. Part of your treatment should involve your oral surgeon.

Why an Oral Surgeon?

An oral surgeon is an expert on all aspects of the mouth and its surrounding structures. They are well versed in performing surgical procedures, repairing facial damage and performing reconstructive surgery. Because of their extensive knowledge of the mouth, an oral surgeon can be very useful in cancer treatment.

Tumor Removal

A tumor can occur anywhere in the mouth - on the tongue, the cheek, your gums, even the roof of your mouth, entrance to the throat or in the jawbone. An oral surgeon can remove the tumor and will most likely take some of the surrounding tissue to ensure any lingering cancerous cells are taken out. In the process, he can make sure that the nerves and all other surrounding structures are kept in as good condition as possible.

Reconstructive Surgery

Surgeries like a mandibulectomy, which involves removal of part or all of the jawbone, and a maxillectomy, which involves removal of portions of the hard palate, require bone grafts and reconstruction. An oral surgeon can make the best decisions when it comes to grafting or using metal plates and how to properly set bones so that you can continue to have normal, or as close to normal as possible, function of your mouth.

Dental Implants

Cancer treatment usually requires radiation. Radiation can be harmful to unhealthy teeth and may lead to the need for them to be removed. But that doesn't mean that you should live without teeth. An oral surgeon can place dental implants, titanium rods that anchor support prosthetic teeth, in your jaw, giving you the ability to eat and speak normally.

If you are undergoing oral cancer treatment, contact our office to ensure that there is an experienced oral surgeon as part of your treatment team.

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