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Almost everyone knows the pain, inconvenience, and mortification that accompanies an oral lesion. Whether it’s a canker sore or a cold sore, you might feel like everyone you meet is focusing on the big blister on your mouth. It can also be difficult to maintain your daily routine of eating, drinking, sleeping, and speaking. However, advances in laser dentistry treatments have significantly reduced the length of time you need to suffer. Your pain and discomfort can be alleviated in the time it takes to make an appointment with your local dentist. Laser dentistry for oral lesions has many benefits over traditional treatments, not the least of which is a faster recovery time.
Are There Different Types of Oral Lesions?
Lesions can occur all over the body, but some types are specific to the oral cavity, such as cold sores and canker sores. Most of them are harmless, but some types of oral lesions can indicate a serious condition that should be addressed immediately. The following are the most common types of oral lesions:
Canker sores are medically known as aphthous ulcers, and they’re one of the most frequently seen oral lesions. They’re usually harmless, but they’re painful. However, if you have one that doesn’t heal within two weeks, you should consult your dentist without delay.
Fever blisters, usually called cold sores, typically occur on or around the lips. They present as fluid-filled blisters and are a viral infection, so that antibiotics will be ineffective. They’re caused by the herpes simplex virus, either type 1 or type 2, and will self-resolve within two or three weeks. Some people are more predisposed to them than others.
A hemangioma is a rubber-like, bright red birthmark that’s usually not cancerous. It’s caused by an accumulation of extra blood cells. Although it’s most commonly found on the back, neck, scalp, or face, it will, on rare occasions, appear in the oral cavity.
The human papillomavirus is the most frequently contracted STD, or sexually transmitted disease, in the U.S. There are more than 100 types of the virus and several can develop in the throat and mouth. An oral HPV lesion can occur suddenly but is usually accompanied by an earache, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, a sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes. If you have an HPV lesion, it should be treated without delay. Although HPV lesions are not usually cancerous, they cause normal cells to become abnormal and are therefore considered precancerous. Removal eliminates the spread of the cells and the likelihood of developing oral cancer, which is one of the fastest spreading cancers in the U.S., killing about one person per hour.
What Are the Benefits of Laser Therapy for Oral Lesions?
Laser dentistry treatment provides several benefits for those who have them, such as:
- Faster healing and recuperation
- Needs less anesthesia
- Oral lesions treatment with a laser is more precise than traditional methods and preserves healthy tissues
- Less pain during the treatment
- Decreases need for pain medications and the possibility of addiction
- Reduces the need for prescriptions
- Visible results appear much faster than with traditional methods
How Are Oral Lesions Diagnosed?
Before you can receive a laser dentistry treatment, your dentist needs to diagnose you. We’ll perform a visual assessment of your soft tissues, including your cheeks, lips, gums, tongue, and palate, to look for bumps, lumps, or any other abnormalities. If we notice anything suspicious, we’ll remove a small section of the tissue and send it to a lab for determination. This is usually done in conjunction with your laser therapy.
What’s Involved in the Treatment Process?
Your dentist will administer a local anesthetic before commencing your oral lesions treatment. Then, we’ll use a dental laser to remove the lesion and cauterize the tissues surrounding the excision. The laser frequency is specially set so that the lesion is removed while the surrounding tissues remain undamaged. Most patients report that their pain is alleviated immediately following their treatment, and the site heals very quickly.
Are There Case Studies Available to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of the Laser?
Dentistry Today magazine featured a case study of a 32-year-old man who had laser therapy for a lesion caused by an outbreak of the herpes simplex virus. The lesion was preventing him from eating, sleeping, and speaking, and it was very painful. One treatment with the Biolase® Epic X diode laser eliminated his discomfort. The next day, his lesions were significantly improved, and he needed no further treatment.
How Can I Learn More About Laser Dentistry for Lesions?
If you’re interested in a laser treatment for a cold sore, canker sore, or another type of lesion in your oral cavity, call Ballston Dental Arts at (703) 291-3111, and we’ll be happy to schedule an appointment with one of our specially-trained dentists. We’ll also be happy to answer all of your questions about this innovative treatment for oral cavity lesions. Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you.