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Keywords:

  • Dental implant;
  • head and neck cancer;
  • irradiation;
  • survival rate;
  • oral rehabilitation

Abstract

An increasing number of reports indicate successful use of dental implants (DI) during oral rehabilitation for head and neck cancer patients undergoing tumor surgery and radiation therapy. Implant-supported dentures are a viable option when patients cannot use conventional dentures due to adverse effects of radiation therapy, including oral dryness or fragile mucosa, in addition to compromised anatomy; however, negative effects of radiation, including osteoradionecrosis, are well documented in the literature, and early loss of implants in irradiated bone has been reported. There is currently no consensus concerning DI safety or clinical guidelines for their use in irradiated head and neck cancer patients. It is important for health care professionals to be aware of the multidimensional risk factors for these patients when planning oral rehabilitation with DIs, and to provide optimal treatment options and maximize the overall treatment outcome. This paper reviews and updates the impact of radiotherapy on DI survival and discusses clinical considerations for DI therapy in irradiated head and neck cancer patients.