We are open - safety is our top priority!
Anyone who’s ever had a cold sore or canker sore knows how painful they can be and how much they can adversely affect your self-confidence. You feel like no one notices anything about you except the huge lesion on your mouth. Until recently, the only remedy for the various types of oral lesions was chemicals, medications, home remedies, or topical products that took weeks to be effective. However, advances in laser dentistry make it possible for your oral lesion to be healed in a very short time, sometimes in as little as a day or two. A laser dentistry treatment will eliminate the source of the problem, hasten recovery, and dramatically shorten the healing time. Read on to learn more.
How Many Types of Oral Lesions Are There?
Lesions can form on any part of the body, but some types are specific to the face and oral cavity. Most are relatively harmless, but a few types can be problematic, and they should be addressed without delay.
One of the most frequently occurring types of oral lesions, canker sores are medically known as aphthous ulcers. They’ll usually self-resolve within two weeks or so, but if yours doesn’t, make an appointment with your dentist.
Called fever blisters in the past, cold sores are the result of the herpes simplex virus, either type 1 or type 2. Since they’re viral, they don’t typically respond to antibiotics. Although they self-resolve in three weeks or sooner, they’re usually painful and inhibit daily functions such as eating, sleeping, and speaking. Some individuals are more prone to cold sore outbreaks than others.
A hemangioma is a birthmark that can occur anywhere on the body but usually presents on the back, neck, face, or scalp. It’s bright red and rubbery in appearance and isn’t often cancerous. In rare cases, a hemangioma will appear in the oral cavity.
HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted disease that’s rapidly spreading in the U.S. Of the more than 100 types of the human papillomavirus, a few of the subtypes can erupt in the oral cavity and throat. Although the lesions themselves aren’t usually cancerous, they’re considered precancerous because they change healthy cells into abnormal cells, resulting in cancer. Symptoms of the HPV include earaches, difficulty swallowing, enlarged lymph nodes, a sore throat, hoarseness, and more. If you have an oral lesion along with any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your dentist immediately. Oral cancer is one of the fasting-spreading cancers in the nation, and most dentists now provide screenings for oral cancer.
Does Laser Therapy for Oral Lesions Have a Better Outcome?
Laser dentistry treatments are increasingly popular, and they provide a better outcome and less trauma for the patient. Some of the benefits of laser therapy include:
- Faster healing and recovery times
- Less anesthesia required
- Less trauma to the gums
- Reduced pain during and after the procedure
- More precise excision of the lesion
- Decreased need for post-op pain medication, thereby reducing the likelihood of additional complications
- Faster than alternative methods
How Does My Dentist Diagnose Oral Lesions?
During your initial appointment, your dentist will visually inspect the soft tissues of your oral cavity for lumps, bumps, or other abnormalities. Specific areas that are examined include your lips, palate, cheeks, gums, and tongue. We may take clinical photographs, and you may need an x-ray. Often, oral lesions are obvious, especially if you have a cold sore or canker sore. If your Alexandria dentist notices any irregularity, however, we may remove a small area and send it to the pathology lab for evaluation. Usually, we’ll do this during the laser treatment.
Is the Oral Lesions Treatment Lengthy or Difficult?
Usually, your oral lesions treatment can be completed in one or two office visits. Many times, when patients return for a follow-up appointment, their oral lesion has healed to the point that additional action is unnecessary. When you come to our office for your treatment procedure, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. The next step is to excise the lesion with a laser set at the correct wavelength. This ensures the optimal removal of the lesion without damage to the surrounding tissues. Most patients experience immediate pain alleviation and accelerated healing.
What Case Studies Exist?
Dentistry Today – a peer-reviewed trade magazine – reported one case of a 32-year-old male who was experiencing a severe outbreak of an oral lesion from the herpes simplex virus. He had severe discomfort, and his daily routines of eating, speaking, and sleeping were disrupted, so he sought laser dentistry treatment. His HSV lesion was excised using a Biolase® Epic X diode laser, and the patient reported some warmth during the procedure but no pain or burning. He was scheduled for a follow-up visit the next day, but when he returned, the area had healed to the point that no further treatment was necessary.
Is It Easy to Learn More About Laser Dentistry for Oral Lesions?
If you have an oral lesion that’s causing pain and inconvenience, then call Dental Associates of Northern Virginia in Alexandria at (703) 596-0872, and we can help you. All our Alexandria dentists are specially trained in laser dentistry treatments, and we can alleviate your pain and inconvenience and restore your good oral health. We have several locations that serve the Alexandria area, so you’re sure to find one that’s convenient for you. Call us today. We look forward to working with you.