Maxillofacial surgery for a benign tumor can be recommended in several scenarios. Through routine dental care, a dentist may discover a cyst or tumor on a patient’s gums, jaw, mouth cavity, tongue, cheek, or lip. In other situations, abnormalities are visible through routine x-rays. In some cases, patients report to their dentist that they see or feel something unusual or that they are experiencing pain.
The next step after detection of an oral cyst or tumor is for an oral surgeon to biopsy the lesion. Doing so will allow for an accurate diagnosis, followed by an appropriate treatment plan. Most often, these tumors are benign and treatment involves removal.
Benign Versus Malignant
The main difference between a malignant (cancerous) and benign oral tumor or cyst is that benign lesions are slow-growing and rarely spread to other areas of the body. Despite the fact that they are not cancerous, benign tumors can still be problematic as they can put pressure on surrounding areas, be painful, and become disfiguring.
Types of Benign Oral Tumors
- Hyperplasias: Caused by an injury or irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth. Types of hyperplasias can include fibroma and pyogenic granuloma.
- Papilloma: A wart-like growth often associated with human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Pleomorphic Adenoma: A benign tumor of the salivary glands
- Soft Tissue Tumor: Begins in the tissues beneath the lining of the mouth. Types of soft tissue tumors can include lymphangioma, hemangioma, neurofibroma, granular cell tumor, and lipoma.
- Odontogenic tumors: Occur in the bones of the jaw. Types of odontogenic tumors can include osteoma and ossifying fibroma.
How an Oral Surgeon Can Help
After the proper diagnostic tests are complete, an oral surgeon can develop a treatment plan to restore the oral health of the patient. The longer an oral tumor exists, the higher the probability that the patient will experience negative health consequences, the more likely the patient will experience discomfort, and the greater the risk for damage to surrounding structures and organs.
In some cases, oral tumors are treated with a straightforward oral surgery, similar to an impacted tooth extraction. Rarer, tumors may require a broader excision of the tumor, including an area of margin, to ensure long term success. Whatever surgery is necessary, the job of the oral surgeon is to successfully remove the problematic lesion while ensuring minimal discomfort through the use of local or general anesthesia as appropriate.
If your dentist has detected a lesion or tumor and he or she has recommended surgery, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for a free consultation. Our expert team of surgeons will examine you and determine whether maxillofacial surgery for benign tumors is an appropriate course of action.