Jaw Necrosis

What is Jaw Necrosis?

Jaw Necrosis is a rare but serious condition in which the cells in the jawbone start to die. Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) radiation from cancer treatment makes people more susceptible to jaw necrosis. The gums are not well protected like other parts of the body from damage during treatment. Radiation causes dry mouth and tight jaw as it makes the muscles contract, which makes dental care harder and also impacts on eating.

What is the traditional treatment?

Traditional treatment for jaw necrosis is surgery. This can include partial removal of the patient’s jaw or rebuilding the jaw using undamaged leg bone. Although surgery is really good for cancer treatment it is not as effective for the treatment of jaw necrosis. Patients often have reduced quality-of-life as their jaw doesn’t feel how it did before.

Another treatment traditionally used is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This is the same therapy used if a scuba diver had suffered a decompression injury. Essentially the patient is put into a high-pressure tank in an attempt to increase their oxygen levels. The theory is simply that higher oxygen levels in the body (and jaw) can promote better healing. However, a recent study called the Hop on Study shows this treatment doesn’t work effectively.

What is the new treatment?

A new form of medicine-based treatment called Pentoclo Treatment Therapy has been discovered that doesn’t involve invasive surgery. The medicine aims to do three things; boost the blood supply to the jaw, reverse some of the damage done to the skin and mouth and if the bone in the jaw is dead then push the affected bone out. In some cases, the jawbone has been seen to rebuild. Pentoclo Treatment Therapy has a healing rate of 56%, which is a very high figure given the alternatives can be so destructive.

Jaw Necrosis Explained

Patient Story: Alex

How Is HNCF helping you?

We aim to make you aware of the changes that are occurring in the treatment of odontogenic diseases. Additionally, we raise awareness of minimally invasive options that may be ideal for your case. These options can be discussed with your surgeon or second opinion doctor. The recent Montgomery ruling means you have the right to be informed of all treatment options. You can discuss these options objectively with your oncologist.