4 Things You Need To Know About Oral Melanoacanthoma

Oral melanoacanthoma is a rare condition that is characterized by the appearance of darkly-pigmented lesions inside your mouth. Here are four things you need to know about it.

What are the signs of oral melanoacanthoma?

If you have oral melanoacanthoma, you'll see a brown or brown-black lesion inside your mouth. The lesion will be flat and freckle-like. Usually, people with this condition only have one lesion, but sometimes, multiple lesions can be present. The lesion appears suddenly and then grows quickly, which can be very alarming to sufferers.

What causes it?

Oral melanoacanthoma lesions are made up of excess melanocytes and keratinocytes. Melanocytes are cells responsible for producing melanin, a pigment that gives your oral tissues their color. Keratinocytes are the cells responsible for making keratin, a tough protein that is part of the outer layer of your oral tissues.

Researchers have suggested that cause of the excessive production of melanocytes and keratinocytes is trauma. Possible causes of trauma to your tissues include chewing or friction from dental appliances.

How is it treated?

Before treatment can start, your dentist will need to confirm your diagnosis. Since oral melanoacanthoma looks so similar to other types of oral lesions, including oral cancer, your dentist may take a biopsy of the lesion to confirm that no cancer cells are present.

Once your diagnosis has been confirmed, your dentist may recommend leaving the lesion alone. Sometimes, these lesions go away by themselves, and even if they don't, they are just a cosmetic problem and not a serious medical concern.

If your oral melanoacanthoma is in a highly visible part of your mouth and is causing serious aesthetic problems, your dentist may be able to remove it with laser gum depigmentation. The heat of a laser beam will be used to kill the melanocytes which will prevent the production of more melanin in the area. Your gum tissue will then heal in its original color.

How common is oral melanoacanthoma?

Oral melanoacanthoma is a very rare condition in the United States. The lesions were first identified in 1978, and since then, less than 100 cases have been reported.

These lesions almost always occur in black patients, but people of any race may be affected. The lesions are slightly more common in females than in males, and the mean age at diagnosis is 25 years.

If you notice a dark lesion inside your mouth, make sure to see a dentist, like Neu Family Dental Center, immediately for diagnosis and treatment.