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Marine Receives DOD's First Jaw Reconstruction Using 3D-Printed Teeth

July 9, 2021 | BY Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L. Greenberg

A Marine assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 7 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, received the Defense Department's first immediate jaw reconstruction surgery using 3D-printed teeth at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

A Marine patient wearing dark glasses smiles while looking into a mirror.
Jaden Murry
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaden Murry, assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 7 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, looks in the mirror at an acrylic dental prosthesis used to reconstruct his jaw at Naval Medical Center San Diego, June 11, 2021. NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L.Greenberg
VIRIN: 210611-N-DA693-1102M

On Nov. 18, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaden Murry, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California, had nearly all of his lower jaw removed because of a tumor. It was reconstructed with a segment from his fibula, a bone in the lower leg.

"I wasn't too nervous," Murry said. "Even though I hadn't been in a hospital since I was three, I knew I was in good hands. I had to put all of my faith and hopes in the hands of strangers. I had to trust them all."

Navy Lt. Justin Odette, one of the medical center's oral and maxillofacial surgery chief residents, and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hammer, a maxillofacial surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon, were members of the multi-department team of surgical specialists who performed the procedure on Murry.

"All of the providers worked as a team to keep his recovery on track," Hammer said. "We were able to safely remove his tracheostomy tube within a week of the surgery, and it was then we knew he was making strides in the right direction."

A dentist puts the bottom row of 3D teeth into the mouth of a patient.
Dental Work
A patient’s prosthetic denture and oral cavity are inspected in Naval Medical Center San Diego’s dental department about six weeks after an immediate jaw replacement surgery on Dec. 29, 2021. Surgeons and specialists from several disciplines performed the Defense Department’s first ever immediate jaw reconstruction surgery using 3D-printed teeth.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L.Greenberg
VIRIN: 201229-N-DA693-1004M

The tube is placed in a hole in the patient's neck to use for breathing when there's concern about the patient's airway in the post-operative period.

Murry said the doctors kept his family informed throughout the planning and operation itself.

"My mother called Dr. Odette with questions I wouldn't have thought to ask, and my grandfather assured me everything was going to be alright," Murry said. "He calmed me down and put my mind at ease. Dr. Odette and Dr. Hammer have been very good at passing information to me and my family."

As Murry continued to heal after the surgery, the doctors tested his healing process with his new lower jaw.

"To see him swallowing, speaking, walking and not using a tracheostomy tube one week post-surgery was a huge victory," Hammer said.

A man lines up a dental prosthesis with a mold of the jaw.
Clayton Campbell
Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Clayton Campbell, a maxillofacial technologist assigned to the Naval Medical Center San Diego’s dental department, checks the fit of an acrylic dental prosthesis in the hospital’s maxillofacial laboratory June 11, 2021. The prosthesis was used in the Defense Department’s first ever immediate jaw reconstruction with 3D-printed teeth.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L.Greenberg
VIRIN: 210611-N-DA693-1023M

"It was weird to hear my own voice," Murry said. "I just made a sound and everyone there cheered. My grandfather made me try to say my ABCs."

Murry will be on a soft food diet of chicken noodle soup, baked beans and ramen noodles while he recovers with the Wounded Warrior Battalion.

"I really look forward to getting back into a healthy mindset of working out, running and bodybuilding," he said.

Murry will continue to have check-ups until his final prosthesis is installed, and then he'll be able to resume life as normal and eat solid foods.

(Petty Officer 3rd Class Jacob L. Greenberg is assigned to Navy Medical Center San Diego.)