these teeth!!!!


Very frustrated! I had mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the lower left jaw. I lost 1/4 of my jaw and 1/4 of my teeth in order to remove the tumor and 21 nodes. Implants aren't an option as I have a titanium metal jaw now. I have a partial that "fills in" the missing teeth for looks only as I can not eat with the partial in. It has no support for chewing. I have taken VERY good care of my teeth since the surgeries 3 years ago. I had 30 rounds of rads and am now suffering the consequences with my teeth. I go for cleanings 3 times a year and ALWAYS have cavities. It started with one or two small ones and now at my last check up I had SIX!!!!! I do Xylimelts for dry mouth at night and they work well. I do fluoride treatments every day. I floss and brush AT LEAST twice a day..usually more. The more I work at taking care of my teeth...the worse they get. I feel like having them all pulled but I am being told "hold on to them as long as you can". I've spent thousands on fillings and root canals already. How much more do I do? I'm sorry to complain about something minor when others are dealing with so much more...but it's very frustrating and this group understands more than anyone!


  • LiseA
    LiseA Member Posts: 266
    That doesn't sound like a

    That doesn't sound like a minor complaint at all!  I'm so sorry.  

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member


    I am sorry you are having this much trouble with your teeth.  I know what a ride you have been on.

    Anything that goes with keeping or losing teeth is one of the big issues we face.  How you determine it is time to go another direction, I do not know, but it sounds like you are close.

    I try to be good to my teeth and so far so good. 


  • Noellesmom
    Noellesmom Member Posts: 1,859 Member

    Are they an option? My husband had poor quality teeth at the time of misdiagnosis.

    Our insurance paid for the extractions and about half the price of some very nice dentures.

    I know we were very fortunate but it never hurts to ask.  

  • slk2015
    slk2015 Member Posts: 54
    How long to keep teeth

    I was told the same thing—hold on to them as long as you can.  I had crowns on every tooth, root canals, etc.  I, too, spent a fortune trying to hang on.  Seven months after my partial glossectomy, I had my remaining top teeth pulled (My teeth had started to break off before the cancer occurred) and then last month, my remaining bottom teeth were removed.  In retrospect, my husband and I both agree I should have done this 10 years ago.  After the teeth were pulled, my health improved, the sores in  my mouth from oral lichen planus went away and I can eat things I couldn’t eat for years.  Right now, I have no bottom denture, so I’m on soft foods again, but in a month or so, I’ll start on the process of getting the denture made.   


    I understand about taking care of your teeth with mouthwash, flossing, etc, etc and losing ground.  I had every kind of dental device out there, I think, to no avail.  My husband brushes his teeth twice a day and rarely has any cavities.  It was frustrating. 

  • The arn man
    The arn man Member Posts: 9
    My wish is that I had had all

    My wish is that I had had all my teeth removed prior to radiation. The doc recommended about 8 teeth to be removed, radiaion of course killed the salivary glands and hence my tooth enamel. I have 11 teeth scattered around my mouth with a couple of broken jagged stumps hanging in there. Even after a series of oral infections I'm not a candidate for their removal because of radiation treatments. SO I got broken teeth and more falling out all the time. You ever just want to scream but you can't because your jaw will lock up?

  • mrspaul
    mrspaul Member Posts: 24
    edited August 2016 #7
    my husband is newly diagnosed

    my husband is newly diagnosed with cancer of the tonsils and lymph node - the oncologist determined his bottom teeth are not strong enough to endure the radiation - they are concerned about a fatal bone infection - so all the bottom teeth are coming out - soon.  we actually have the first appointment with the dentist tomorrow who will then have him see an oral surgeon - same practice -- I just wish we could skip the middle man and just get going with the teeth being pulled by the surgeon.  my husband will get a bottom plate - he already has a top denture plate (he was injured in a work accident years ago - hit by a power tool from a third story drop and he looked up as it hit his face). 

  • CivilMatt
    CivilMatt Member Posts: 4,722 Member
    edited August 2016 #8


    Teeth get a lot of attention here.  Many lose all prior to treatments (radiation) and some do ok.

    My rad onc insisted on speaking with my dentist prior to my first rad.

    When you are treated for H&N cancer, a whole slew of folks get involved.


  • TracyLynn72
    TracyLynn72 Member Posts: 839
    edited August 2016 #9
    Mine weren't great to begin with

    and now they are awful.  No one recommended pulling themall.  No one gave me flouride treatments until a year ago.  My original rads onc was a jerk.  BUT...all that is done is done.  I am dealing the best I can now with what I have.  A tooth that they INSISTED I save with a root canal and crown ($2K) is now full of cavities and has to come out.  The other tooth that is just hanging on has to come out.  That leaves me 3 bottom teeth and 2 bottom molars.  I said take them all, but I'm limited to options for having teeth.  I can't have implants and a denture wouldn't work either.  I'm taking it one tooth at a time right now.  

  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    This is complicated to answer.

    TL72 not sure how to advise or answer this.

    I never had to have radiation, and I know the damage it can do to the gums and teeth. So I will start with a question. IF you had a full denture could you eat on the  titanium metal jaw side? Now normally I would tell anyone to try to save at lease a few so you can use a partial, but that isn't working in your case. They do make a denture that will lock in like implants do. Dentures are hard to get used to. I was sick and got a gum disease when I was in my early 20's. The doctor said It was from a restaurant that didn't clean right and all my teeth were fractured so when a light was behind them they looked cracked. I tried cutting the gums. We tried a root  canal and the tooth blew apart. I could spend 30,000 and no guarantee it would save them with all crowned and capped. So I got with my dentist who was also a personal friend, and said take them all out. You have two weeks to do the bottoms and I have to be back at work and in my office and on a phone. Said it can't be done as I need an oral surgeon to remove some that are in bad. Just make it work because I have to drive back to LA to work, and I was.  I made up my mind this was going to happen to me at 28, and I am going to wear them all the time. Bottoms are the hardest. Two years later we did the tops. So I have had dentures for 37 years and can eat almost anything, except caramel candy that will stick so you can't open your mouth, or pull the denture out. I only remove them to clean then back they go. I sleep with them. Now when I had cancer and had to have a laryngectomy they took them for three days and it drove me crazy. No one has ever seen me without them. If they could lock them into your jaw and also the titanium metal jaw, I would really consider them if you could eat better.  Just my 2 cents........


  • sparroweye65
    sparroweye65 Member Posts: 6
    Disintegrating teeth

    I hear you Tracy.  Was eating my nightly snack of milk and honey nut cheerios and a corner of my front tooth just fell off.  I think it's called tooth wasting. My teeth are just basically disintegrating and mostly the teeth which were in the path of the most rads.  The bottom of this front tooth has already been bonded once.  Now this will be twice. And four of my bottom front teeth has jagged edges and missing pieces.  I feel like a I may end of looking like a crack head.  When my molars had pieces fall off, my dentist just did a crown.  But now as it's happening to my front teeth they don't seem to suggest crowns.  I have heard scary stories about needing hyperbaric chamber treatments if you have to have an extraction.  Tonight I am feeling so down.  I think I need to find on oncologist dental specialist.  I had perfect teeth before my cancer. I never missed cleanings. Now, like Tracy said, my teeth are basically rotting. The dentist can say whatever he likes. But I never had this much decay in my entire life.  I cut out all sweets, candy etc.  I floss and brush every time I eat.  I have the last few checkups had six fillings at a time.  Eventually my teeth will give out. And then what.  I have the money to crown all of them. Why don't the dentists suggest this.  So far, thank God, no jaw bone necrosis.   Ok  my pity rant is over.  I am 7 years out from treatment of stage 1.5 tonsil cancer.   I am lucky to still be here.  I always wondered. What does that five year survival rate mean.  After five years is it a bonus.  lol.  I feel for you Tracy.  If I had had really bad teeth maybe it wouldn't be so heartbreaking and I could accept it better.  Going to find a dental specialist who is schooled in head and neck cancers and see how I can pay for some hyperbaric treatments.