There are many different types of sores and lesions that can occur in and around the mouth. Many of which will resolve on their own or just stay as is without changing or causing harm and can be monitored. Some however, require help in order for them to resolve, and there are others that require treatment to prevent serious harm. Here is just a sampling of some of the things that have come through My Family Dentist.
Bone Fragment Stimulated Ulcer
Ulcers in and around the mouth can be very common, and many are caused by viruses or localized trauma that just need time to heal on their own, but not always. This patient came in with a painful ulcer on the bottom left of his mouth. At first it appeared to be a standard ulcer so normal treatment for a viral ulcer was performed. Unfortunately standard treatment did not have any effect and the ulcer persisted. With a bit of time, a sharp edge started to appear within the ulcer. Upon close examination, a small bone fragment was noted. With removal of the fragment the area healed quickly. So the lesson from this case is, if you have a sore that does not heal within a normal time frame (3-14 days), please have it checked by your dentist ASAP as it may be a condition that requires assistance to heal.
Hyperkaratosis and Likenoid Reaction
A common style of lesion noticed by dentists is a thickened white patch. This can be on the cheeks (common for cheek biters), and/or on the gum tissue. This may be generalized or very localized. When found on both side of the mouth, it is rarely cancer, and when found just in one are, can be of greater concern. For this patient, the lesion started off in a very localized area on the gum tissue and a biopsy was done. The lesion was determined to be hyperkaratosis (thickening of the tissue) exhibiting characteristics of lichen planus. Over time the condition has spread to cover most of the gum tissue. Due to the continual changes, further biopsies were performed and monitoring is being done by both Dr. Schau and an Oral Pathologist. Fortunately at this stage the condition is non-cancerous and close monitoring is all that is required. However, this is definitely the type of thing you do not want to let go un-checked and un-watched because it could change into a cancerous lesion.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Some lesions and sores in the mouth can be very serious. This individual came to the office with a sore on the side of his tongue that was believed to be from a sharp edge on a tooth. After adjusting the tooth the sore felt better. A follow up appointment was arranged to ensure healing which revealed no improvement. Appropriate referrals were done and the sore turned out to be cancer. As this was caught early, treatment proceeded quite successfully and the cancer is now gone. However, regular follow up appointments are required to monitor for any signs of recurrence.
If you have anything in or around your mouth that does not appear quite normal, and it has not gone away within two weeks, contact us today to have it checked. It may be nothing, then again, having it checked may save your life.