Oral Trauma

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Our mouths are designed to resist changes in force, temperature and texture, but they are still not invincible. The human body has tremendous ability to restore damage in the cells and tissue. However, we do recommend keeping any trauma to the tissue to a minimum to decrease the risk of malignancies. So what would be considered an insult to the mucosal lining of our mouths? These will include concentrated exposure to high temperatures and chemicals and habits, among others. Smoking is one of the most common habits that expose the tissue to high temperature, as well as chemical exposure. We see changes in the appearance and anatomy of the minor salivary glands that are present on the palate (roof of the mouth). Also, the keratin layer of the mucosal lining thickens up in order to protect the tissue from the direct contact of the elevated temperature of the smoke. Other areas of the mouth also get impacted by contact with the nicotine and other chemicals such as aspirin, acid reflux, and smokeless tobacco, etc. Each one of these chemicals create a very distinct lesion on the soft tissue of the mouth. Habits such as biting of the cheek and lip can cause bumps and thickening of the mucosa. The body always attempts to react to any unusual exposures. Extended and repeated exposure can lead to a malfunction of tissue repair, leading to the development of suspicious lesion, all of which are to be closely treated and followed upon. Here at Spring Lake Dental Group, is our priority to educate and advise our patients of the importance of a routine check and oral cancer screening.