Jaw tumors can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, or unexplained tooth mobility. Tumors can sometimes be found on routine dental x-rays, but sometimes it takes a thorough examination of the teeth an oral cavity to discover a jaw tumor. Treatment will be decided based on the location, size, and if the tumor is benign or malignant. Most tumors will need to be removed to keep them from growing and causing more dental issues, and dental reconstruction might be necessary once the tumor is completely gone.
The most common growths are found on both the palate and mandible. These bony outgrowths are usually benign and are only removed if they are interfering with your jaws function or proper dental care. The most common tumor found in the jaw is a squamous cell carcinoma and this is typically found on the mandible or maxilla. This type of tumor travels through the dental socket to invade the underlying jaw bone. The posterior mandible is most susceptible to an ameloblastoma which appears as a soap-bubble when found on x-rays. The ameloblastoma is an epithelial odontogenic tumor that rarely metastasizes. To completely remove it surgery and reconstruction is necessary. Dental tissues, or follicles, can be affected by an Odontoma which frequently is found in young people on their mandibles. These tumors are usually removed only when it is hard to determine they are benign.
We understand that being diagnosed with a tumor can be an emotional time as many patients want to know right away if they have cancer. We pride ourselves on making sure our patients know what to expect each step of the way. We will go over all test results with you, and then based on those results, we will go over a treatment plan if necessary. We encourage our patients to ask any questions and to let us know if any of your symptoms have gotten worse.