Multiple myeloma, also called myeloma, is a cancer that develops in a type of white blood cell known as a plasma cell. It makes up about 10 percent of blood cancers and half of cancers that start in the bone.

Some people with multiple myeloma develop symptoms that affect their mouth. Researchers have come to varying estimates of how common oral symptoms are, but one 2018 study estimated that they affect 14 percent of people with myeloma.

Multiple myeloma often does not cause any symptoms in the early stages. The hallmark symptoms are often abbreviated with the acronym CRAB:

  • C: calcium elevation
  • R: renal (kidney) insufficiency
  • A: Anemia.
  • B: bone irregularities

In rare cases, the only noticeable symptoms are the oral ones. They can easily be overlooked when this happens.

You should read this to learn more about how multiple myeloma affects your mouth and how it is treated.

Multiple myeloma can cause oral problems.

  • There are dental issues.
  • There is damage to the bone.
  • jaw pain
  • swelling

“Multiple myeloma’s oral symptoms can be hard to differentiate from other conditions.”

If you have jaw pain that is not obvious, it is a good idea to see a dentist or doctor. They can look at your mouth.

Most common signs and symptoms

In a 2018 study, researchers found swelling was the most common oral symptom among 81 people with myeloma who experienced mouth problems. Swelling affected 65.4 percent of people in the group.

The most common sign of myeloma found in the oral was the presence of osteolytic lesions.

There are areas of damaged and weak bone caused by an imbalance between the cells that break down.

Here is a complete look at the symptoms and signs reported by the 81 people in the study.

Signs and symptoms Prevalence
osteolytic bone lesions 90.1%
mouth swelling 65.3%
bone ache 33.3%
numbness (paresthesias) 27.1%
amyloid lesions (raised spots) 11.1%
bleeding gums 9.8%
teeth are shifting 6.1%
tooth root resorption 3.7%
gum swelling 1.2%
yeast overgrowth (candidiasis) 1.2%

Of people who had osteolytic bone diseases.

  • 80.2 percent had plasmacytomas, or bone tumors, from the buildup of plasma cells
  • 9.8 percent had punched-out lesions, which resemble a raindrop hitting the bone and splashing
  • Half of people reported pain in their bones.

In a 2020 study, researchers found a higher prevalence of oral symptoms than most other studies. In a group of 42 people with multiple myeloma, researchers found that 54.7 percent of people had symptoms in the soft tissue of their mouth, and 78.5 percent had symptoms in their hard tissue.

Pale mouth lining was the most common soft tissue symptom. It is believed to occur due to Anemia. or a low red blood cell count.

The researchers found that 74.8% of people with multiple myeloma had a bone disease. Half of the people had a problem in their jaw, while the other half had a problem in their lower and upper jaws.

According to the researchers, neurological symptoms are less common and estimated to occur in 1 percent of people. Two people in the study had facial paralysis.

Bisphosphonates and osteonecrosis is a disease.

Bisphosphonates are a group of medications used to prevent There is damage to the bone. in people with myeloma. They’ve been linked to a very rare side effect known as osteonecrosis is a disease. of the jaw, according to 2017 research.

A chronic condition called osteonecrosis is a disease. causes dead bone tissue to be exposed in the lining of your mouth. It may cause something.

  • There is pain in your tooth or jaw.
  • swelling
  • It is an infectious disease
  • teeth are shifting

It’s critical to visit a doctor if you develop symptoms of osteonecrosis is a disease. since they can also be symptoms of There is oral cancer..

“Multiple myeloma’s oral symptoms can be similar to other conditions.”

“Multiple myeloma can’t be diagnosed with only oral symptoms. If a doctor or dentist suspects you have a disease, they will want to do further testing.”

A bone marrow biopsy is usually needed to confirm the diagnosis. It involves injecting a thin needle into a bone, usually your pelvis, and removing a small sample of the bone marrow for analysis.

Other tests might include them.

Oral symptoms are treated on a case-by-case basis depending on which symptoms you’re experiencing. For example, osteolytic lesions may be treated with bisphosphates combined with specific treatments for cancer, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

A doctor can help you with your treatment plan. They may recommend a number of treatments for your symptoms.

Multiple myeloma treatment can be learned.

Symptoms usually do not appear in the early stages. When they do appear, myeloma symptoms commonly include:

Are oral signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma rare or common?

Estimates vary widely about the prevalence of oral symptoms in people with myeloma. One 2013 review of studies estimated that 14 percent of people with myeloma develop oral symptoms.

Do oral signs and symptoms of multiple myeloma develop early or late?

Myeloma rarely initially presents with oral symptoms, but they may be the primary signs of disease in the advanced stages. Often, myeloma does not cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages.

Can a dentist diagnose multiple myeloma at a regular checkup?

Some of your symptoms may be caused by cancer. If this is the case, they will refer you for further testing to confirm the diagnosis.

What other conditions might these oral signs be confused with?

Jaws caused by myeloma can be difficult to diagnose. They can mimic other conditions.

Multiple myeloma does not usually cause symptoms in the early stages. Rarely, oral symptoms like jaw pain, swelling, or There are dental issues. may be the initial symptoms of late-stage myeloma.

It is not clear how many people with myeloma develop oral symptoms. If you experience jaw pain, swelling, or dental problems, it is a good idea to visit a doctor or dentist.