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J Prosthet Dent. 1999 Sep;82(3):317-21.

Psychologic response of the edentulous patient after primary surgery for oral cancer: A cross-sectional study.

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Walton Hospital, Aintree Trust, and Liverpool University, Liverpool, United Kingdom.



Edentulous patients can have difficulty in tolerating dentures and this may lead to psychologic disturbance. The problem is potentially more severe for edentulous patients after primary surgery for oral cancer, where treatment can include composite resection and reconstruction, followed by adjuvant radiotherapy.


This study investigated the psychologic response and oral satisfaction of edentulous patients treated by surgery for oral squamous cell carcinoma, and to make a comparison to edentulous noncancer counterparts.


The cross-sectional study included patients who were alive and disease-free 2 to 3 years after primary surgery. Seventy patients underwent surgery at the Regional Maxillofacial Unit, Liverpool, in 1993 and 1994. Twenty-eight patients were disease-free; 26 completed questionnaires that included a general health questionnaire (GHQ), a body satisfaction scale, a self-esteem scale, an oral symptom checklist, and a denture satisfaction questionnaire. Comparison was made with 98 noncancer edentulous patients from the same unit.


There were similarities in psychologic and oral satisfaction scores between the noncancer and cancer edentulous patients. Cancer patients reported lower self-esteem (P <.02). Cancer patients who were not rehabilitated with either conventional or implant-retained prostheses had significant psychologic morbidity as measured by the GHQ, self-esteem, and body satisfaction scales. Cancer patients with implant-retained overdentures reported greater satisfaction with their dentures compared with their counterparts who wore conventional dentures (P <.05).


Edentulous cancer patients who do not achieve oral rehabilitation after surgery for oral cancer exhibited significant psychologic morbidity. Patients with implant-retained overdentures exhibited a tendency to adopt the same psychologic response with improved denture satisfaction as edentulous patients with conventional dentures, despite the former having more extensive disease that would otherwise make the provision of dentures much more difficult if implants were not used.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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