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Keywords:

  • dental implants;
  • oral cancer;
  • prosthetic rehabilitation;
  • quality of life;
  • survival rate

ABSTRACT

Background: After oral tumor resection, structural and functional rehabilitation by means of dental prostheses is complex, and positive treatment outcome is not always predictable.

Purpose: The objective of the study was to report on oral rehabilitation and quality of life 2–5 years after resection of malignant oral tumors.

Materials and Methods: Data of 46 patients (57 ± 7 years) who underwent oral tumor surgery were available. More than 50% of tumors were classified T3 or T4. Open oro-nasal defects resulted in 12 patients and full mandibulary block resections in 23 patients. Comprehensive planning, implant placement, and prosthetic rehabilitation followed an interdisciplinary protocol. Analysis comprised tumor location, type of prostheses, implant survival, and quality of life.

Results: Because of advanced tumor status, resections resulted in marked alteration of the oral anatomy requiring complex treatment procedures. Prosthetic rehabilitation comprised fixed and removable prostheses, with 104 implants placed in 28 patients (60%). Early implant loss was high (13%) and cumulative survival rate of loaded implants was <90% after 5 years. Prosthetic plans had to be modified because of side effects of tumor therapy, complications with implants and tumor recurrence. The majority of patients rated quality of life favorable, but some experienced impaired swallowing, dry mouth, limited mouth opening, appearance, and soreness.

Conclusions: Some local effects of tumor therapy could not be significantly improved by prosthetic rehabilitation leading to functional and emotional disability. Many patients had passed away or felt too ill to fill the questionnaires. This case series confirms the complex anatomic alterations after tumor resection and the need for individual treatment approaches especially regarding prosthesis design. In spite of disease-related local and general restrictions, most patients gave a positive assessment of quality of life.