BACKGROUND: We describe an unusual case of extra-nodal non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that developed in the maxillae associated with localized severe periodontitis in a 64-year-old Caucasian male. The lymphoma was diagnosed less than 2 years following routine periodontal surgery and 8 weeks after the extraction of hopeless teeth in the associated area. METHODS: Two months following the extractions, the patient experienced pain and swelling in the maxillary right edentulous area mimicking an abscess, and reported for emergency care. An expansile lesion measuring 2.0 x 2.5 cm in diameter was noted on radiographic examination to extend into the right maxillary sinus. A definitive biopsy diagnosis of high-grade, small, non-cleaved, diffuse non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the right posterior maxillae was established. The patient was subsequently treated by a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and bone marrow transplantation. RESULTS: The maxillary tissues healed uneventfully, and the patient has been closely observed for approximately 5 years without symptoms or recurrence of the lymphoma. CONCLUSIONS: This case highlights the need for careful debridement of extraction sockets associated with severe periodontitis and argues for the routine submission of extracted teeth with adjacent soft tissue for microscopic analysis, to assist in the early diagnosis of potentially life-threatening malignancies.
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