Oral leukoplakia (white plaques) and oral lichen planus have the potential to transform into oral cancer.
This article as listed I recommend to read describes a series of nine patients with an initial clinical-microscopic diagnosis of lichen planus. During close follow-up, these patients developed localized areas of white plaques at intervals ranging from one and a half to six and a half years. Their management of these two conditions differs with leukoplakia (white plaques) requiring surgical intervention. Therefore accurate diagnosis by a specialist trained in oral pathology and oral medicine is imperative.
Nita Chainani-Wu, DMD, MS, PhD; Daniel M. Purnell, MPH; and Sol Silverman Jr., MA, DDS . Oral Leukoplakia Development in Patients With Pre-Existing Oral Lichen Planus, CDA Journal, Vol 43:35-39
Problems during or after radiotherapy and chemotherapy for cancer
Abnormal findings of dental or jaw x-rays
The causes of these conditions can be locally related, such as allergies, trauma or infections, but more often they are systemic. “The mouth is a mirror of the body”. Some of these conditions can be the very first sign of a serious systemic disease and should not be ignored. The seemingly “small” problems could be life threatening if left untreated. Others are chronic, proper treatment can prevent future flare-ups.
The common symptoms of a TMJ disorder that you may experience including the following:
“Toothache” that is not relieved by dental or root canal treatment
Recurring pain on one side of the face, around the ears or TMJ
Difficulty opening or closing jaws with associated clicking or popping
Earache or ear ringing, not relieved by conventional treatment
A stiff or fatigued jaw in the morning upon awakening
Chronic headaches, muscle fatigue and soreness in the head and neck regions
The sites where the pain that the patient feels are often deceiving. Chronic pain with no abnormal dental findings could be caused by:
(1) Nerve disorders (neuropathic)
(2) Muscular problems in the head & neck regions
(3) TMJ structural changes
(4) Even intracranial diseases (brain tumor)
Chronic pain can affect one’s quality of life and performance skills, leading to emotional distress and depression. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. Patients with the above symptoms should be referred to a specialist with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. To know more about the scientific background, you may click the following article: The Mechanisms of Joint and Muscle Pain
Oral diseases and their relationship to overall health have become more and more apparent in today’s medical fields. Early diagnosis and treatment of symptoms and conditions can greatly improve medical outcomes, and early involvement by oral and maxillofacial pathologists can be a critical link in bringing together the best in oral health care.
Because of their unique diagnostic skills and expertise focused on the oral and maxillofacial regions, Oral pathologists can provide the highest standards of care in the diagnosis and treatment of oral conditions that are not responsive to conventional medical, dental, oral or maxillofacial surgical procedures.