If you have ever experienced mouth ulcers, you know how painful they can sometimes be. They can show up in your mouth as red or yellow lesions, unlike cold sores that crop up on the outside of your lips. Typical mouth sores can show up from some kind of trauma, like accidentally biting your tongue or cheek. Known as traumatic ulcers, these can happen if you wear braces with a loose wire, dentures that don’t fit right or when you brush your teeth too aggressively.
Beyond these, tiny, benign lesions in the mouth, pathalogic ulcerations can also occur, whether in the mouth or on the face and jaw areas. A pathologic process is an organic, biologic process that arises from a disease, and has a detrimental effect on the subcellular, cellular, multicellular, or organismal level.
Our oral surgeons at Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery are experienced with handling these kinds of ulcerations to treat your condition, whether these are tiny tissue lesions, big cysts or jaw tumors. Ulcers that keep returning or last more than three weeks should be looked at.
A Healthy Mouth
If you look inside your mouth, you’ll see that it is lined with a special kind of skin called mucosa. A healthy mucosa appears smooth and in a coral shade of pink. If it suddenly looks different, this is a warning sign that something may be off. One reason this can happen is from oral cancer.
Signs of Pathologic Process or Cancerous Growth
-You have a persistent sore throat or hoarseness
-You see white or red patches in your mouth when looking into a mirror
-There is a lump or other kind of thickening on the mucosa of the mouth
-You have trouble swallowing or chewing your food
-You have an oral sore that doesn’t heal and bleeds easily
-You see or feel an abnormal growth in the tissues (like the tongue) or other parts of the mouth, like the palate
Oral Cancerous Growth
Oral cancer may first show up as an ulcer in your mouth, for example, on or beneath your tongue. It will typically manifest as a lone ulcer and hang around for seemingly no reason. This should be of concern, especially if you are a regular smoker and/or drinker.
If the ulcer or growth lasts for longer than three weeks, it should be checked out by your dentist to rule out cancer or some other underlying medical condition that might be causing it. These ulcers or growths can manifest on your lips, palate, tongue gum tissue or those supporting the teeth, or the cheeks, neck or face.
One thing to note is that the ulcer may or may not be painful. But if you do find yourself feeling pain from the oral or facial ulcer that doesn’t seem to have a reason to be there, you are at greater risk that it may well be cancerous. One of the best things you can do is to have an oral cancer screening during your routine dental visits. You can also be proactive with your oral health by regularly doing your own oral cancer exam to check for abnormalities.
Your mouth is actually a great indicator of the state of your health, not just your oral health. It can let you know that something is going on that may require medical intervention. If you are noticing an unusual ulcer or lump in your mouth, or have a concern about oral pathology, we strongly recommend giving our experienced team at Loudoun Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery a call at one of our offices near you in Ashburn or Leesburg, Virginia.