2023 Volume 65 Issue 2 Pages 87-89
Purpose: Osteoradionecrosis of the jaw is a therapy-resistant condition that may occur after treatment for head and neck cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of osteoradionecrosis in patients with oropharyngeal cancer in relation to tooth extraction prior to radiation therapy.
Methods: Patients who had undergone radiation therapy for oropharyngeal cancer 5-10 years earlier were included and evaluated for the development of osteoradionecrosis (n = 75).
Results: Among the 75 patients, 62 had molar teeth present in the >50 Gy radiation field and 36 of those patients had teeth extracted prior to radiation therapy. Extraction of molars before radiotherapy significantly increased the risk of developing osteoradionecrosis (P < 0.05). There were no identifiable statistically significant correlations between the time from tooth extraction and the start of radiation therapy, the number of teeth in the radiation field, smoking habits, human papillomavirus-status, gender, age or tumor location and the development of osteoradionecrosis.
Conclusion: Tooth extraction prior to radiation therapy increases the risk of developing osteoradionecrosis. For patients with good oral hygiene and absence of dental disease, avoidance of tooth extraction in the radiation field could therefore reduce the risk of complications.