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Jaw metastases and the general dental practitioner

A Correction to this article was published on 08 April 2022

This article has been updated


Metastatic spread to the oral cavity is a rare entity, comprising 1% of oral malignancies. However, 25% of oral metastases are found to be the initial sign of metastatic spread; therefore, initial presentation in the oral cavity may indicate significant underlying disease. Common primary sites for men include the prostate, lung, kidney and liver. For women, it is the breast, kidney, colon and genital organs. General dental practitioners are in a unique position to identify and instigate rapid referrals as gatekeepers of primary care whereby patients commonly present to them with symptoms. This clinical review article aims to educate dental practitioners on appropriate recognition of oral metastatic pathology and referral to secondary care.

Key points

  • Oral metastases account for approximately 1% of oral malignancies.

  • Hard tissue oral metastases can mimic clinical findings in line with dental disease such as dental pain, tooth mobility or periodontal disease.

  • Spontaneous altered sensation of inferior dental nerve distribution without any underlying intervention or cause should be considered for urgent referral to exclude sinister pathology.

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Authors and Affiliations



Sarah Jadun: project administration, writing - original draft, writing - review and editing. Lara Zebic: figure construction, writing - review and editing. Vinod Patel: conceptualisation, supervision, validation, writing - original draft, writing - review and editing.

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Correspondence to Vinod Patel.

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There are no conflicts of interest to declare by any of the authors for this submitted work.

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Jadun, S., Zebic, L. & Patel, V. Jaw metastases and the general dental practitioner. Br Dent J 231, 629–633 (2021).

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