MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH

MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH

MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH  MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH 

Patients come to a dental office only when they present some type of ailment;  very few come for routine examinations every 6 months. Some diseases that occur in the mouth are usually silent in the beginning. They sometimes do not detect the condition until it is too late.  Suddenly, the patient notices an increase in lesion volume, numbness, pain, or even bleeding.

Different diseases are related to pigmentations around and inside the mouth. They can affect the entire body such as Addison’s or Peutz-Jeghers disease. Both diseases present dark spots in the mucosa of the mouth, in addition to other conditions, such as the alteration of some adrenal hormones in the case of Addison’s disease and the presence of intestinal polyps in the case of Peutz-Jeghers disease.

In addition, pigmentation from external agents can also be found, as in the case of amalgam tattoos produced by amalgam restorations over a long time or removing such restorations, since  particles can be trapped inside the mucosa. Another example is the graphite tattoo that, due to some accident in childhood, some graphite remains trapped in the mucosa.

The reasons why we have stains or pigmentation inside the mouth are diverse; however, few people realize it as we do not perform a check-up of our mouths, either on our own or by visiting a dentist. One of the most worrying pigmented lesions of the oral cavity is melanoma of the oral mucosa.

What Is Melanoma?  

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, melanoma is a pigmented lesion that can affect the skin and mucous membranes, in generalThe best known form affects the skin. This melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and is usually related to excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun that cause the formation and alteration of melanocytes, the cells responsible for coloring our skin.

 Other types of melanoma are called hidden melanomas, since they are located in areas of the body with little to no exposure to the sun, including melanoma in the mucosa of the mouth. This or any type of melanoma can be successfully treated if detected early.

Commonly and according to research by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, oral mucosal melanoma usually occurs on the roof of the mouth and upper gums, but in its most aggressive form, it is usually located on the jaw and on the tongue.

Patients with malignant oral melanoma often recall having had oral pigmentation months or years before diagnosis, and the condition may even have elicited previous comments from physicians or dentists. Ignoring these signs could worsen the prognosis of the disease.

How To Detect It Early?

You should know that an evaluation by your dentist is of utmost importance – at least twice a year – since it is easier to detect a lesion in the earliest stages. However, if it is difficult to find the time, follow the these  recommendations from the the Oral Cancer Foundation:

  • With the help of a mirror at home, perform an oral examination for all oral mucosal surfaces.
  • Sexterity during the movement of the head helps reflect the light properly so the view of the mouth is as clear as possible.
  • A proper oral exam requires good lighting, a mouth mirror, a bathroom mirror, and a 2 X 2 gauze pad.
  • Retract your tongue, and with the help of the gauze, move your tongue from side to side to achieve an unobstructed view.
  • Health professionals can reinforce this practice at follow-up appointments.
  • If you notice any unusual stain or lesion, no matter how small, see your dentist or physician as soon as possible so they can perform a test to diagnose it.

Contact Us

If you have any of these problems and need better guidance, do not hesitate to visit Channel Island Family Dental.

At Channel Island Family Dental, we focus on providing you with a timely diagnosis. In addition, dentists in Oxnard, Ventura, Port Hueneme, Newbury Park and Santa Paula  will  provide you with the best treatment to help you regain your oral health and restore your confidence in smiling again.

MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH MELANOMA IN THE MOUTH

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