Tumor Management

Oral tumor is the irregular growth or mutation of hard or soft oral tissues in the mouth and mostly occurs in elderly person.

A variety of noncancerous growths may occur in and around the mouth. A persistent lump or raised area on the gums (gingiva) may be caused by a gum or tooth abscess or by irritation. Noncancerous growths due to irritation are relatively common and, if necessary, can be removed by surgery. Such irritation, if it persists over a long period of time, can lead to precancerous changes. Because any unusual growths in or around the mouth can be cancer, the growths should be checked by a doctor or dentist without delay.

Basically, oral tumors can be classified as:

  1. Benign tumors – A variety of noncancerous growths may occur in and around the mouth. A persistent lump or raised area on the gums (gingiva) may be caused by a gum or tooth abscess or by irritation. Noncancerous growths due to irritation are relatively common and, if necessary, can be removed by surgery. Such irritation, if it persists over a long period of time, can lead to precancerous changes. Because any unusual growths in or around the mouth can be cancer, the growths should be checked by a doctor or dentist without delay.

    Benign tumors can be subdivided into four categories: epithelial, mesenchymal, and salivary gland tumors, and cysts of soft tissue. Although soft tissue cysts are not tumors, their historical and clinical features resemble those of benign tumors.

  2. Malignant neoplasms – known also as oral cancer, more likely to be painful and cause ulceration of the overlying epithelium as malignant neoplasms invade or infiltrate surrounding muscle, nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue, they are fixed or adherent to surrounding structures during palpation. Some benign tumors are also fixed to surrounding structures, but other benign tumors are surrounded by a fibrous connective tissue capsule, which may allow the lesion to be moved within the tissue independent of surrounding structures.

Tumors in the jaws that are arise from odontogenic (tooth forming) tissues are referred to as odontogenic tumors. The most common tumor of the mandible and maxilla is squamous cell carcinoma invading the bone through dental sockets. Jaw tumors are diagnosed clinically because their growth causes swelling of the face, palate, or alveolar ridge. They can also cause bone tenderness and severe pain.

Ameloblastoma, the most common epithelial odontogenic tumor, usually arises in the posterior mandible. It is slowly invasive and rarely metastatic. On x-ray, it typically appears as multiloculated or soap-bubble radiolucency. Treatment is wide surgical excision and reconstruction if appropriate.

Odontoma, the most common odontogenic tumor, affects the dental follicle or the dental tissues and usually appears in the mandibles of young people. Odontomas include fibrous odontomas and cementomas. A clinically absent molar tooth suggests a composite odontoma. Typically, these tumors are excised, particularly when the diagnosis is in doubt.

Osteosarcoma, giant cell tumor, Ewing tumor, multiple myeloma, and metastatic tumors may affect the jaw. Treatment is the same as for those tumors in other bony sites.

Symptoms may include:

  • Reddish patches
  • Whitish patches
  • A sore that does not heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening of the tissues
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

Oral tumor is closely related to the following factors:

  • Chemical factors such as nicotine and tar inside cigarettes, alcohol, or betel nut juice will slowly destroy oral tissue.
  • Physical factors – Frequent taking of overly-hot food or drinks for an extended period of time, wearing unfit dentures that damage oral tissues for a long period of time, long term exposure to strong sunlight, or radiation can cause mutation of oral tissues.
  • Infected by virus or bacteria.
  • Health problems – Problems in endocrine system, immune system or metabolism are possible factors leading to oral tumors.

Should you found any uncommon manifestation appearing in the oral tissue, consult your doctor or dentist immediately for a detailed examination and seek appropriate treatment.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons at SmileWorks Dental Care evaluate, diagnose and treat the full spectrum of cysts and tumors in and around the jaw and structures of the teeth.

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