Dental Problems

What is Erythroplakia?

Erythroplakia is a flat lesion in red color on the mucous membrane of the mouth. Usually, it is not attributed to any pathology. Erythroplakia is mostly seen in elderly men between the age of 65 to 74 years. Tobacco and alcohol are described as the major risk factors and there are no symptoms found in the patients. The treatment is done by identifying the cause and removing it. Taking preventive steps to avoid recurrence is very important.

Causes of Erythroplakia

  • The exact causes for the formation of erythroplakia is unknown, but researches presume that, it should be resulting from the same causes as squamous cell carcinoma (a cell disorder).
  • Erythroplakia is frequently associated with dysplasia (abnormal cell disorder), so it also a precancerous lesion.

Other potential risks of erythroplakia include

  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Smoking or exposure to chewing tobacco carcinogens.
  • Long term irritation from dentures or rubbing teeth.
  • Poor general health due to deficiency in vitamins A, C, B-12 and folic acid.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV).

Diagnosis for Erythroplakia

  • Many other conditions may appear as the causes for erythroplakia, so these conditions should be ruled out before making any diagnosis on erthrolakia.
  • In some cases, diagnosis can be delayed for two weeks to see if there is any other cause for the problem or if the lesion can regress on its own.

Treatment for Erythroplakia

  • To identify the extent of dysplasia, biopsy is performed.
  • Depending on the histological findings, complete excision of the lesions can be advised.
  • Recurrence is common for erythroplakia, so long term monitoring is very important.

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