What is Oral Neurofibroma? Its Causes, Manifestation, Diagnosis and treatment.
Have you observed small swellings in your oral cavity? Some swellings are not even noticeable until you visit a dentist for a check-up. Some people neglect these swellings as they don’t feel pain. But are these swellings a dental concern? Are they cancerous? Many of you must have freaked out, noticing the spread all over the oral cavity and the skin.
Clicks on ADS 👇👇
What is Oral Neurofibroma?
In Latin, neuro means nerve; fibroma means benign tumors consisting of connective or fibrous tissues. It was first described by Von Recklinghausen in 1882.
What are the causes of Oral Neurofibroma?
Neurofibroma is an uncommon type of benign tumor of nerve sheath in the peripheral nervous system. It is caused by a mutation of the NF-1 gene on chromosome 17. It shows oral manifestations initially, gradually affecting skin, eyes, bones, and nervous system.
Clicks on ADS 👇👇
At which age do Oral Neurofibromas Appear?
Single neurofibromas rarely appear at birth but from ages 10 months -70 years, they become more apparent. According to researches, oral manifestations appear at the age of 5 years. However, neurofibromas associated with neurofibromatosis, the lesions may appear at any age.
Is it Inherited?
Yes, it is often inherited (passed on to the next generation within the same family). Each child has about a 50% chance he/she can carry that affected gene. Few people develop without having a family history, it could be because of mutation in their genes.
Oral Neurofibroma and its manifestations
- It can arise as solitary (single) or multiple tumors.
- Solitary tumors are soft, slow-growing, painless, or painful that vary in size from small nodules to large masses.
- Buccal mucosa and tongue are the common sites.
- Other sites are labial mucosa, palate, and gingiva.
- It may cause pain or numbness in some areas because the tumor compresses the nerve as it grows.
- It often involves trigeminal nerves and upper cervical nerves.
- Superficial soft tissue involvement is more frequent than deeper tissues.
- Diffuse neurofibroma may involve the tongue and can cause an increase in the size of the tongue.
- It can cause deformations of the maxilla and mandible bones, TMJ, and salivary pathologies.
- It causes mal-alignment of teeth.
- Difficulty in maintaining oral hygiene.
- The frequency of caries occurring is more due to poor oral hygiene.
How can it be diagnosed?
It can be diagnosed by blood tests, biopsies, MRI, electromyography, and genetic testing.
What conditions are similar to Oral Neurofibrosis?
Some conditions that show similar characteristics are Lipoma, Fibroma, Schwannoma, and hemangioma. You must visit your physician once you develop these swelling to have a perfect diagnosis of the disease.
What is the prognosis of this tumor?
The prognosis is good but in rare conditions reappear after excision. In the case of neurofibrosarcomatous, it has an extremely poor prognosis and distance metastasis has also been reported.
Can Oral Neurofibroma be treated?
Clicks on ADS 👇👇
Yes, it can be treated. It usually requires monitoring and surgery.
Your doctor may recommend you for observation of the tumor, if it is in the location where it is difficult to remove or if it is small in size and asymptomatic. You have to visit your doctor at regular intervals for check ups and imaging tests to see if it is growing in size.
Solitary oral neurofibroma can be treated by conventional surgical excision or by diode lasers, depending upon the size and location of the tumor. Cosmetic surgeries are performed for the maxilla and mandible correction.
After the surgery you have to visit the physical therapist or occupational therapist for exercises of your joints. To avoid stiffness and improve function and mobility of your muscles and joints. Take a consultation of psychologist to help you recover from the pain and stay strong mentally. Seek guidance from the doctors and other affected patients to cope up with this tumor.