What’s that red spot on your gums? If you are like most of us, you don’t perform a personal oral inspection of your mouth each day. But, if a sore spot or a popcorn kernel prompt you to take a closer look into your own mouth, you might notice a mark, lump, or bump that you hadn’t noticed before.
However, before you begin to suspect that the mark is a sign of cancer, remember that a red spot in the mouth is much more commonly the result of a traumatic injury or inflammatory condition. Still, it’s smart to determine the cause of the red spot, and that’s where your oral surgeon steps in.
An oral surgeon has the expertise to determine whether a lesion that has occurred on your soft tissue is harmful to your health or not. To arrive at a diagnosis, a biopsy is often indicated. Risk factors such as your smoking habits and alcohol consumption will be considered, along with the location of the lesion, your health history, and the lesion’s physical characteristics.
What Causes a Red Soft Tissue Lesion?
The soft tissues of the mouth include the lips, tongue, gums, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and the throat. When sores or abnormalities occur in these areas, the causes can be numerous. An apthous ulcer or canker sore can be the result of infections, stress, an injury, a burn, or a temporary fluctuation in your immune status. These ulcers can also occur when your body lacks nutrients such as iron, zinc, B vitamins, and folic acid.
Commonly prescribed medications such as methotrexate (used to treat arthritis and certain forms of cancer) can also trigger the onset of ulcers in the mouth and oral lichenoid eruptions.
Some systemic diseases like Crohn’s disease, lupus, and Behcet’s syndrome, and oral cancers are represented by red lesions on the soft tissues.
Generally, a red lesion in the mouth indicates an area of localized inflammation, although this diagnosis must be confirmed with a pathologic examination under a microscope. Your gender, race, and age can also provide important clues as the best way to treat the lesion.
The naked eye alone cannot provide an accurate diagnosis. For a professional assessment of a red lesion on your soft tissues, contact our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio for a consultation today.