Oral leukoplakia is a condition characterized by the presence of a white lesions inside the mouth that can't be rubbed off and can't be characterized as any other condition. There are many different types of oral leukoplakia, including fissured leukoplakia. Here are four things you need to know about fissured leukoplakia.
What are the signs of fissured leukoplakia?
If you develop this condition, you will notice a fissured gray or grayish white lesion on your oral tissues. Generally, these lesions have well-defined borders, but sometimes their edges can blend into your healthy tissue. Over time, the lesions' diameters will expand, and it will become distinctly white. At this point, the lesion may develop a leathery texture and the fissures will get deeper.
Is it cancerous?
Fissured leukoplakia is not cancerous, but it is precancerous. Many studies have followed leukoplakia patients to determine the rate of malignant transformation; these studies have reported malignant transformation rates as high as 40% according to the Maxillofacial Center for Diagnostics and Research. Since the risk of developing oral cancer when you have fissured leukoplakia is so high, these lesions need to be treated promptly.
How do dentists diagnose it?
Fissured leukoplakia is a diagnosis of exclusion and there is no specific test that can be done to identify it. Your dentist will need to rule out all other conditions which could cause white lesions on your oral tissues to diagnose you with fissured leukoplakia.
You may need to undergo multiple tests for you can be diagnosed. These tasks may involve swabs of the lesions to check for fungal infection or biopsies to check for cancer. Your dentist will also have to examine your mouth to make sure that there are no sources of friction, like ill-fitting dentures, that could be leading to white lesions. Once all of these possible causes have been eliminated, you'll have your diagnosis.
How is fissured leukoplakia treated?
Due to the risk of developing oral cancer, your dentist may recommend surgically excising the lesions. This surgery involves cutting away the entire lesion with a scalpel; as a precaution, a margin of healthy tissue from around the lesion will also be taken in case any cancerous cells were present. After the surgery, your tissues will heal rapidly, and you will not have a scar.
Once your lesions have been removed, your dentist may recommend regular follow-ups to make sure that you haven't developed oral cancer. This is because there is still some risk of cancer developing at sites that were previously treated for fissured leukoplakia.
If you have a white, fissured lesion(s) inside your mouth, see your dentist right away because you may have fissured leukoplakia.
For professional dental care, contact an office such as St Albert Summit Dental Centre.