Who is extracting your tooth (part 2)?

I would like to share with you a heartbreaking story of a patient who came into my office.  This 45 year-old male patient had two lower left teeth removed at another dental office two months ago.  The patient never quite “felt right” after the extraction, having pain, swelling and not being able to open his mouth fully.

Every time he would go back to the dentist he would be reassured that “everything is fine”, that it is “just taking a little longer to heal” and would be prescribed antibiotics.

Finally he came in to see me for a second opinion.  Let us look at some pictures:

This is a picture of the site where the teeth were removed.  Notice the large growth of the tissue at the extraction site.  The mass was solid and definitely concerning.

 

This is the xray of the patient.  Please note the dark resorption of the jaw bone at the extraction site.

This was a very, very concerning situation.  The two most likely scenarios in this case would be either a deep infection of the bone after extraction (osteomyelitis of the jaw) or cancer.

Biopsy was done, and unfortunately the diagnosis was cancer.  Now, think about the two months that patient kept coming back to the dentist and was being reassured that “healing is just taking a bit longer”.  All that time the cancer was invading deeper into the bone.

Had the problem been identified right away, the patient could have been definitively treated sooner.

Who is extracting your tooth?