Prosthodontists are uniquely trained to rehabilitate patients who require jaw removal surgery to treat cancer or other locally aggressive jawbone lesions. Dr. Bishop, Dr. Abey and their highly skilled in-house dental laboratory technician work with local ENT, Plastic and Oral Surgeons, as surgeries are planned and later, after full healing a permanent appliance is made to replace the missing tissues and any teeth that may have been lost in the disease or surgical processes.
A first appliance is constructed to be used at and immediately after the surgery. It is called a surgical obturator or cover plate. The function of this appliance is to restore the palate so that eating, drinking, and other oral functions can resume right after surgery. It is fitted tightly by the surgeon at the surgery. It is later released and converted to a removable appliance to allow the tissues to “breathe” and heal and to allow good oral hygiene, while still functioning to seal the roof of the mouth.
The final appliance is made after full healing and the goal is to achieve the best comfort, function, and esthetics possible for the compromised anatomy. This appliance resembles a removable partial denture. The upper surface of the “partial” has an extension piece that replaces the lost structure. Both the surgical and definitive obturators use the remaining natural teeth to retain the prosthesis.
Click here: Prosthodontic Information for Patients Receiving Maxillary (upper jaw) Surgery for a detailed information sheet.