Soft Tissue Conditions: Before and After Treatment
A periodontist is mainly concerned with diagnosing and treating soft tissue problems. Some soft tissue conditions include Lichen Planus, Benign Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid, Geographic Tongue, Burning Mouth Syndrome, Aphthous Ulcers and Oral Mucositis from Chemotherapy.
Soft tissue disorders of the mouth are seen in patients of all ages, races and health statuses.
Oral Lichen Planus (or OLP) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease which most commonly affects the skin and the mucous membrane lining or “skin” inside of the mouth, including cheeks and lips. OLP often looks like white lines crossing in a web-like patter on a red background, but can have a few different appearances, and some patients even develop a painful condition where ulcers are present (Ulcerative Lichen Planus).
OLP is caused by an inappropriate production of antibodies against a person’s own oral tissues. OLP affects 0.5-4% of the population globally, affecting women 2:1, often appearing in 50 and 60 year old post-menopausal women. It can affect quality of life, sleep, cause stress to those who have it, and usually persists for life. The lesions of Lichen Planus also have the potential to become malignant.
Oral Lichen Planus can be diagnosed in our practice with examination, and often requires a soft tissue biopsy. Other soft tissue conditions in the mouth can present with similar symptoms, so proper diagnosis is key, If confirmed to be Oral Lichen Planus, his patients are then treated accordingly, often with prescription gels or creams to be used in the mouth.
Pemphigoid is another soft tissue condition we see in our patients. Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) is a rare chronic autoimmune disorders that can be characterized by blistering lesions that primarily affect the various mucous membranes of the body. The mucous membranes of the mouth and eyes are most often affected.
We often recommend specialty oral rinses, toothpaste and dietary changes to successfully treat soft tissue conditions.