Section VII. ABNORMALITIES OF ORAL MUCOSA
Oral mucosa has the same susceptibility to pathological change as does other
covering tissue. Common abnormalities of the skin and the gastrointestinal tract may
evidence themselves on oral mucosa. Local, focal oral mucosal lesions, generalized
mucosal involvement, or intraoral lesions associated with a systemic problem may be
caused by bacterial, fungal, or viral organisms. Benign or malignant lesions must
always be considered when examining a patient's mouth.
A vesicle is a circumscribed, superficial elevation on the skin or mucous
membrane containing fluid (serum, plasma, or blood). If the vesicle opens, it becomes
an ulcer (an inflammatory lesion).
An ulcer (figure 1-7) is an open sore of a superficial nature extending below the
covering epithelial surface. The base of an ulcer is composed of granulation tissue
resulting from initial healing. A secondary infection may develop in an ulcer, resulting in
delay of the healing and repair process. A common cause of oral ulceration is trauma,
which might even be a result of toothbrush injury. Irritation from a rough or broken tooth
surface can also result in ulceration. Some ulcers start with vesicle formation.
NOTE: This painful ulceration on the lateral border of the tongue represents a
nonspecific response to tissue injury. The cause of an ulcer must be
determined and appropriate treatment initiated. Normal healing will often
Figure 1-7. Ulcer.