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Home > Dental Conditions > Oral Cancer > Oral Diseases Cancer Ulcers and Lichen Planus
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Oral Diseases: Cancer, Ulcers and Lichen Planus


How Can I Be Sure I Don't Have Cancer?

Mouth ulcers might be signs of disease or cancer.

The first thing to consider when asking if you have cancer is to ask yourself an important question -- are you are a smoker or not? Tobacco (smoke or smokeless) is considered the main risk factor in developing oral cancers. Smoking, together with high alcohol consumption, can also contribute to cancer development. Excessive exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of developing lip cancer. The most important step to take is to be checked by a dentist every six months. Routine dental exams of asymptomatic and symptomatic patients result in the detection of early premalignant lesions that can be easily excised and treated. The most common signs of oral cancer in the mouth that patients should be aware of are: a sore in the mouth that does not heal, and a white or red patch on the tongue buccal mucosa and gums.

Why Should I Be Concerned About Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in men and 2% in women. About 90% of oral cancer occurs in patients over the age of 45. The incidence increases with age until 65. An estimated 30,000 new cases of oral cancer are expected to be diagnosed each year in the U.S. and approximately 8,300 people will die of the disease.

What Types of Products Can Be Beneficial in Treating Oral Ulcers?

Oral ulcers may have many causes: the lining of the mouth may be thin and susceptible to physical and chemical injuries; the oral mucous membrane lining may be the site of several allergic, infectious, metabolic, nutritional, malignant or systemic diseases that can present themselves in the form of oral ulcers. In this section we are only going to discuss the treatment of the two most common ulcerations of the mouth, which are traumatic ulcers and recurrent aphthous ulcers or canker sores. For traumatic ulcers, the first thing to do is to eliminate the cause, which could be a faulty restoration, injury from sharp instrument or history of a bite. Symptomatic relief can be achieved by diphenyhydramine and Maalox, swished every three hours, and lidocaine applied directly to the ulcer. An aphthous ulcer usually takes its course of 10-14 days, but the goal of the treatment is to alleviate pain and shorten the duration of the ulcers. If few ulcers are present, the treatment of choice is the application of O.1% triaminolone acetonide (Kenalog) in orabase applied gently on affected areas, and other topical steroids Lidex® gel (0.05%). In multiple and severe lesions, systemic steroids such as dexamethasone (decadron) elixir 0.5mg/5 ml mouth rinse are preferred. And sometimes tetracycline in a variety of preparations may be used.

How Many People Have Ulcers or Other Lesions in and Around Their Mouth?

Around 20% of the population suffers from ulceration, peaking in the third and fourth decades. Other lesions such as vesicullo-bullos diseases are also common in the fifth and sixth decades, especially in women.

What Other Types of Problems Are Treated in the Oral Medicine Clinic?

We treat burning mouth syndrome, burning tongue, vesicullo-bullous disease, dry mouth (xerostomia), fungal infections, screening for premalignant lesions and oral manifestations of HIV infection.

What is Lichen Planus and Why Is it Worse When I Am Stressed?

Lichen planus is considered an autoimmune disease with unknown etiology; it could be possibly initiated by several factors such as hypersensitivity reaction, general debilitation and emotional stress. Several medications have been found to cause what we call oral lichenoid reaction. Clinically, the most common form of Lichen planus (reticular form) presents itself as striated white lesions on an erythematosis base bilaterally on the buccal mucosa. Most of the times it's asymptomatic but sometimes it is accompanied by pain and discomfort.

Remember, only a dentist can diagnose your dental problems and offer the right treatment plan for you. If you need a dentist, call us at 1-866-970-0441 to be connected with one today.

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