Dental Impants post radiation

After completing radiation in early 2007 I started to have issues about a year later with facial swelling and random fevers. After many trips to the ER and Oncologist, I found out it was was due to my teeth. Before I started radiation I had never had a cavity. After treatment, I saw my dentist every three months like I was told. Anyway, at this point all of my top teeth have been crowned and I've lost 4 teeth on the bottom. I recently underwent unsuccessful gum graphing and at this point my dentist is recommending pulling the remaining bottom teeth and trying dental implants. I've already had 20 dives in the hyperbaric chamber but am very nervous at the thought of implants. I was wondering if anyone else has had issues with their teeth post radiation and has had implants. If so, did it work?

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Comments

  • jim and i
    jim and i Member Posts: 1,788 Member
    Yes, Jim's teeth are just

    Yes, Jim's teeth are just crumbling away. We have no dental insurance so will probably go with dentures.

    Debbie

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
    jim and i said:

    Yes, Jim's teeth are just

    Yes, Jim's teeth are just crumbling away. We have no dental insurance so will probably go with dentures.

    Debbie

    Working on it

    I was scheduled for implant surgery but battling it out with the insurance company so implants are on hold. I already did 30 HBOT dives. Other than time consuming, 2 hours a day, hyper barics was not at all painful and tx was uneventful. The dental specialist is not comfortable with putting implants on one side lower jaw because of the amount of radiation I received. I think I am more anxious about these implants than I was about surgery, rads and chemo all put together, not sure why.

  • Duggie88
    Duggie88 Member Posts: 760 Member
    Sheila

    I was told my jaw would never survive implants. I lost my four front bottom teeth just shy of three years after radiation. I would think twice about risking the jaw bone and the money.

          Jeff

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    hwt said:

    Working on it

    I was scheduled for implant surgery but battling it out with the insurance company so implants are on hold. I already did 30 HBOT dives. Other than time consuming, 2 hours a day, hyper barics was not at all painful and tx was uneventful. The dental specialist is not comfortable with putting implants on one side lower jaw because of the amount of radiation I received. I think I am more anxious about these implants than I was about surgery, rads and chemo all put together, not sure why.

    I agree, I'm very nervous

    I agree, I'm very nervous about moving forward with impants.  I'm so worried about my jaw bone....I just don't know what to do.

    I'm in the same boat, I'm trying to get my medical plan to cover the implants......I'm praying they will.

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    Duggie88 said:

    Sheila

    I was told my jaw would never survive implants. I lost my four front bottom teeth just shy of three years after radiation. I would think twice about risking the jaw bone and the money.

          Jeff

    Jeff,
    The cost of the

    Jeff,

    The cost of the implants is overwhelming but the fear of moving forward with it is just as overwhelming.  The surgeon that wants to do the implants seems very confident it will work.

    Lot's to think about.......I'm just so sick of being in pain.    It hurts to eat or drink anything and IF the implants work, it would take away all my pain. Again, lot's to think about

    Thank you for your advice....I appriciate it. 

  • fisrpotpe
    fisrpotpe Member Posts: 1,349 Member
    no implants

    after 17 years i have had many, many issues with my teeth. i have had no implants, i was told by three different doctors it is a huge risk of infection setting in which would lead to have bone removed. the dentists at Indiana School of Dentistry agree, the risk is not worth it. so i will not even begin to entertain the option. i would rather walk around with no teeth than to have jaw bone removed. 

    if and when needed, i will make dentures work for me. 

    good luck with you choice. 

    john 

  • Duggie88
    Duggie88 Member Posts: 760 Member
    Sheilarhc said:

    Jeff,
    The cost of the

    Jeff,

    The cost of the implants is overwhelming but the fear of moving forward with it is just as overwhelming.  The surgeon that wants to do the implants seems very confident it will work.

    Lot's to think about.......I'm just so sick of being in pain.    It hurts to eat or drink anything and IF the implants work, it would take away all my pain. Again, lot's to think about

    Thank you for your advice....I appriciate it. 

    Sheila

    I would definately get another opinion.

    I don't understand how implants will take away the pain with drinking and eating. You may want to consider dentures which cost much less than the implants which is the way I went. If you choose implants and your jaw bone takes a dive the expensive implants will have to come out and from what I've heard jaw bone replacemnt surgery involves a lengthy stay in the hospital.

    I'm sure others will have thoughts to help you make  your decision.

          Jeff

  • lorig01
    lorig01 Member Posts: 83
    Have you considered implanted dentures?

    Hi.  I had my teeth removed prior to treatment for tonsil cancer and I had 7 implants put in to hold dentures.  Granted I had the implants done prior to radiation but I have seen implanted dentures on the internet that require only 4 implants.  I would definitely get another opinion but this may be a better option. The dentures stay in place with the implants and I am able to eat almost anything,  (with liquids).   I am sorry for your frustration and hope you can get some relief soon.

  • MarineE5
    MarineE5 Member Posts: 1,029 Member
    Agree with the others

    Luckily, I haven't had any major issues with my teeth. Had 2 capped early on due to me trying to eat something hard and cracked 2 teeth.

    As mentioned above, the main issue is the change in the DNA in our tissue and jaw bone from the radiation. Healing of the gums to cover the exposed bone becomes an issue from what my Cancer Dentist told me years ago. He at the time recommended Dentures if I decided to have my teeth removed. My teeth were border-line as far as keeping or removing them, I decided to keep them. I do my Flouride treatments daily and haven't had any issues.

    Implants are not on my list of options...just my 2 cents.....

    My Best to You and Everyone Here

  • traceyd1
    traceyd1 Member Posts: 79 Member
    My husband is supposed to get

    My husband is supposed to get the process of getting implants started in August or September.  His jawbone and gums were replaced with his fibula and skin grafting, so the tissue and bone being used for the implants were never radiated.  Our radiaiton oncologist said this is the only reason he's approving the procedure.

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    Duggie88 said:

    Sheila

    I would definately get another opinion.

    I don't understand how implants will take away the pain with drinking and eating. You may want to consider dentures which cost much less than the implants which is the way I went. If you choose implants and your jaw bone takes a dive the expensive implants will have to come out and from what I've heard jaw bone replacemnt surgery involves a lengthy stay in the hospital.

    I'm sure others will have thoughts to help you make  your decision.

          Jeff

    Since radiation my teeth are

    Since radiation my teeth are so sensitive to hot and cold.  Plus my gums are receding and my roots are exposed.  Actually, I have two teeth where the recession is so bad I’m shocked the tooth hasn’t just fallen out.  I recently underwent gum graphing for two teeth and it didn’t work.  Between dry mouth and painful teeth and gums, I feel like everything in my mouth is constantly killing me and it really makes eating difficult.  The thought of implants taking away the pain is what drew me to it BUT I’m afraid they will do more harm than good.  I was hoping I’d find successful story after story, of people that had the procedure, no such luck.   

     

     

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    Duggie88 said:

    Sheila

    I would definately get another opinion.

    I don't understand how implants will take away the pain with drinking and eating. You may want to consider dentures which cost much less than the implants which is the way I went. If you choose implants and your jaw bone takes a dive the expensive implants will have to come out and from what I've heard jaw bone replacemnt surgery involves a lengthy stay in the hospital.

    I'm sure others will have thoughts to help you make  your decision.

          Jeff

    Since radiation my teeth are

    Since radiation my teeth are so sensitive to hot and cold.  Plus my gums are receding and my roots are exposed.  Actually, I have two teeth where the recession is so bad I’m shocked the tooth hasn’t just fallen out.  I recently underwent gum graphing for two teeth and it didn’t work.  Between dry mouth and painful teeth and gums, I feel like everything in my mouth is constantly killing me and it really makes eating difficult.  The thought of implants taking away the pain is what drew me to it BUT I’m afraid they will do more harm than good.  I was hoping I’d find successful story after story, of people that had the procedure, no such luck.   

     

     

  • nonoandno
    nonoandno Member Posts: 1
    traceyd1 said:

    My husband is supposed to get

    My husband is supposed to get the process of getting implants started in August or September.  His jawbone and gums were replaced with his fibula and skin grafting, so the tissue and bone being used for the implants were never radiated.  Our radiaiton oncologist said this is the only reason he's approving the procedure.

    hi sorry about the teeth! my

    hi sorry about the teeth! my husband had stage 4 scc of the tonsil, and was told to have all his teeth pulled immediately when diagnosed, but his teeth were perfect, he was given double doses of both chemo and rad, with a survival chance of 20%. he refused to have his teeth pulled. he now must have them all pulled and dentures put in, but it is 7 years later, he is still cancer free, and i prefer keeping him  over his teeth:) p.ps. he has no saliva glands in the mouth and the dentist said he probably kept his teeth that long because he chewed alot of gum to bring up moisture!

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    nonoandno said:

    hi sorry about the teeth! my

    hi sorry about the teeth! my husband had stage 4 scc of the tonsil, and was told to have all his teeth pulled immediately when diagnosed, but his teeth were perfect, he was given double doses of both chemo and rad, with a survival chance of 20%. he refused to have his teeth pulled. he now must have them all pulled and dentures put in, but it is 7 years later, he is still cancer free, and i prefer keeping him  over his teeth:) p.ps. he has no saliva glands in the mouth and the dentist said he probably kept his teeth that long because he chewed alot of gum to bring up moisture!

    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your comments.  I can't express how much I've suffered from all my dental issues.  Sometimes I feel guilty for being upset or frustrated but the bigger picture is, I'm cancer free.  All the stress and expense over the last few years dealing with these issues has made me feel like, in some way, my cancer is sitting on my shoulder not allowing me to escape.  I did the work, I had the surgery and I endured radiation, endless bouts of thrush, weight loss, hair loss, and my sense of well being.  I struggled to get to the other side and I feel like I'm at another cross in the road.  I get it, it's only teeth.  Who cares about teeth when I survived cancer.  BUT, spending all my time at the dentist getting drilled and glued back together is weighing on me.  I've had many dentists’ tell me implants were out of the question.  My current dentist once told me that even if I was a good candidate, I'd be hard pressed to find a dentist that would even risk it.  BUT, he has since introduced me to an oral surgeon who feels differently and thinks it will work.  I'm almost wondering if permanent dentures is a better way to describe what they are suggesting.  They would put 4 implants on the bottom front jaw and then it’s one piece (of whatever it’s made of) that would hook onto the four implants but It would provide me with a full set of bottom teeth.  I don't know what to do but the prospect of being painfree is very tempting....very, very tempting.  Thank you all for your advice….I really appreciate it. 

    God Bless…..

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    nonoandno said:

    hi sorry about the teeth! my

    hi sorry about the teeth! my husband had stage 4 scc of the tonsil, and was told to have all his teeth pulled immediately when diagnosed, but his teeth were perfect, he was given double doses of both chemo and rad, with a survival chance of 20%. he refused to have his teeth pulled. he now must have them all pulled and dentures put in, but it is 7 years later, he is still cancer free, and i prefer keeping him  over his teeth:) p.ps. he has no saliva glands in the mouth and the dentist said he probably kept his teeth that long because he chewed alot of gum to bring up moisture!

    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your comments.  I can't express how much I've suffered from all my dental issues.  Sometimes I feel guilty for being upset or frustrated but the bigger picture is, I'm cancer free.  All the stress and expense over the last few years dealing with these issues has made me feel like, in some way, my cancer is sitting on my shoulder not allowing me to escape.  I did the work, I had the surgery and I endured radiation, endless bouts of thrush, weight loss, hair loss, and my sense of well being.  I struggled to get to the other side and I feel like I'm at another cross in the road.  I get it, it's only teeth.  Who cares about teeth when I survived cancer.  BUT, spending all my time at the dentist getting drilled and glued back together is weighing on me.  I've had many dentists’ tell me implants were out of the question.  My current dentist once told me that even if I was a good candidate, I'd be hard pressed to find a dentist that would even risk it.  BUT, he has since introduced me to an oral surgeon who feels differently and thinks it will work.  I'm almost wondering if permanent dentures is a better way to describe what they are suggesting.  They would put 4 implants on the bottom front jaw and then it’s one piece (of whatever it’s made of) that would hook onto the four implants but It would provide me with a full set of bottom teeth.  I don't know what to do but the prospect of being painfree is very tempting....very, very tempting.  Thank you all for your advice….I really appreciate it. 

    God Bless…..

  • hwt
    hwt Member Posts: 2,328 Member
    Sheilarhc said:

    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your comments.  I can't express how much I've suffered from all my dental issues.  Sometimes I feel guilty for being upset or frustrated but the bigger picture is, I'm cancer free.  All the stress and expense over the last few years dealing with these issues has made me feel like, in some way, my cancer is sitting on my shoulder not allowing me to escape.  I did the work, I had the surgery and I endured radiation, endless bouts of thrush, weight loss, hair loss, and my sense of well being.  I struggled to get to the other side and I feel like I'm at another cross in the road.  I get it, it's only teeth.  Who cares about teeth when I survived cancer.  BUT, spending all my time at the dentist getting drilled and glued back together is weighing on me.  I've had many dentists’ tell me implants were out of the question.  My current dentist once told me that even if I was a good candidate, I'd be hard pressed to find a dentist that would even risk it.  BUT, he has since introduced me to an oral surgeon who feels differently and thinks it will work.  I'm almost wondering if permanent dentures is a better way to describe what they are suggesting.  They would put 4 implants on the bottom front jaw and then it’s one piece (of whatever it’s made of) that would hook onto the four implants but It would provide me with a full set of bottom teeth.  I don't know what to do but the prospect of being painfree is very tempting....very, very tempting.  Thank you all for your advice….I really appreciate it. 

    God Bless…..

    Implants

    Actually my specialist is planning similar but putting 5-6 implants in mandible now made of my fibula and titanium and attaching a denture to that. I have a temporary denture now with only 4 of my own lower teeth. It's difficult to get in and out because my mouth doesn't open as wide as it used to. This specialist is supposed to be one of the very best so I'm putting my trust in him. He did say he would not put any implants in the other side of lower jaw because of the amount of radiation that I had. The surgeon who spent 19 hours removing the cancer and reconstructing my jaw also has confidence in him.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.

  • metro22
    metro22 Member Posts: 16
    implants

    Sheilarhc

    Perhaps you would feel better in consulting a specialist in Dental Oncology.  I had conflicting opinions about which teeth to extract before radiation begins so last week flew into Kansas City for a consultation -  I went to

    Oncology Dental Support Clinic

      http://dentistry.umkc.edu/Patient_Information/oncology.shtml  

    At the University of Missouri - Kansas City. There can of course be serious complication in tampering with the jaw bone after radiation and I wanted a specialist’s opinion. I will have 17 teeth removed this week. Many were nice new crowns done  in  the last 2 years but we want to look out many years and plan on the best outcome. I imagine there are several dental specialists in this field.

     

    Good luck to you.

  • Duggie88
    Duggie88 Member Posts: 760 Member
    Sheilarhc said:

    Thank you all for your

    Thank you all for your comments.  I can't express how much I've suffered from all my dental issues.  Sometimes I feel guilty for being upset or frustrated but the bigger picture is, I'm cancer free.  All the stress and expense over the last few years dealing with these issues has made me feel like, in some way, my cancer is sitting on my shoulder not allowing me to escape.  I did the work, I had the surgery and I endured radiation, endless bouts of thrush, weight loss, hair loss, and my sense of well being.  I struggled to get to the other side and I feel like I'm at another cross in the road.  I get it, it's only teeth.  Who cares about teeth when I survived cancer.  BUT, spending all my time at the dentist getting drilled and glued back together is weighing on me.  I've had many dentists’ tell me implants were out of the question.  My current dentist once told me that even if I was a good candidate, I'd be hard pressed to find a dentist that would even risk it.  BUT, he has since introduced me to an oral surgeon who feels differently and thinks it will work.  I'm almost wondering if permanent dentures is a better way to describe what they are suggesting.  They would put 4 implants on the bottom front jaw and then it’s one piece (of whatever it’s made of) that would hook onto the four implants but It would provide me with a full set of bottom teeth.  I don't know what to do but the prospect of being painfree is very tempting....very, very tempting.  Thank you all for your advice….I really appreciate it. 

    God Bless…..

    Sheila

    Reading your latest post I have concerns that one out of many said he would do the implants. Keep in mind the majority isn't ruling here. I would even question the permanent dentures because they have to anchor something into the jaw bone that has been compromised by the radiation. I know all that have made suggestions are based on their individual circumastances but make sure you do what is best for you. Also, keep in mind these doctors have a practice which menas they are not perfect, they are only working towards it. I once asked a sugeon why do you wear a mask so I can't pick you out in a line-up? All kidding aside don't make any snap decisions although either road you choose you will have to have the bad ones pulled which should help with the pain. You can decide how to replace them later.

    I never had a gum issue, my lower front four just started breaking off with no pain except for one that hurt off and on for a day or two but the pain stopped and it broke off at the gum line two months later. Three of the four broke off prior to the hyberbaric treatments

    Keep us posted

          Jeff

  • wrhbounds
    wrhbounds Member Posts: 39
    8 years

    After radiation treatment I was lucky I kept my teeth for 8 years until while traveling I developed a bad tooth ache I found a small town dentist who pulled my tooth it took weeks to get back home & by that time the jaw bone had started to die. After 3 operations to try and save my jaw I need a fibula flap. Now 5 years latter &12 more operations I have 6 implants. I am off tube feeding and now on soft food & pereed meat.

  • Sheilarhc
    Sheilarhc Member Posts: 46
    wrhbounds said:

    8 years

    After radiation treatment I was lucky I kept my teeth for 8 years until while traveling I developed a bad tooth ache I found a small town dentist who pulled my tooth it took weeks to get back home & by that time the jaw bone had started to die. After 3 operations to try and save my jaw I need a fibula flap. Now 5 years latter &12 more operations I have 6 implants. I am off tube feeding and now on soft food & pereed meat.

    Thank you for sharing. 

    Thank you for sharing.  Sounds like you've experienced it all and I'm happy to hear you're starting to eat foods again.  If you don't mind me asking, how do the implants feel?