Citation Information :
Ingale Y, Sarode GS, Sengupta N. Epithelial Thickness and Mouth Opening Negatively Correlates with the Burning Sensation of the Oral Cavity: A Pilot Clinicopathological Study. World J Dent 2021; 12 (6):458-462.
Aim and objectives: The present study aimed to quantify the burning sensation in oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) patients and correlated then with epithelial atrophy, degree of fibrosis, and mouth opening.
Materials and methods: Total 53 OSMF cases without ulcerations and vesicle formation were recruited in the present study. The severity of burning sensation of the oral cavity was determined by a 10-mm visual analog scale (VAS, numeric scale type), in which 0 demonstrates no pain and 10 shows severe intolerable pain. The inter-incisal distance was calculated using Vernier caliper while the epithelial thickness and fibrosis grades were evaluated histopathologically under the light microscope.
Results: The mean VAS score in OSMF patients observed was 4.43 ± 1.53. A weak negative correlation was observed between VAS score and epithelial thickness (r = −0.245) as well as VAS score and mouth opening (r = −0.431). The epithelial thickness values were correlated with the mouth opening from OSMF patients. With regard to the grade of fibrosis, the VAS score was maximum in advanced stages (6.81 ± 0.6) and showed decreasing trend in intermediate (4.44 ± 0.5) and early stages (2.66 ± 0.48). There were statistically significant differences in the VAS score in all the grades of fibrosis (p < 0.00001).
Conclusion: The burning sensation increases with a decrease in the epithelial thickness, mouth opening, and fibrosis in the connective tissue stroma. Since intra-epithelial nerve endings are the main carriers of burning sensation, maintaining the disturbed homeostasis of oral epithelium with the restoration of epithelial thickness could mitigate the burning sensation in OSMF patients.
Clinical significance: The results of the present study showed that the burning sensation in OSMF patients negatively correlates with the epithelial thickness. Moreover, increased fibrosis was associated with increasing the burning sensation. Maintaining epithelial homeostasis with medicinal intervention could probably help in reducing the burning sensation of the oral cavity in OSMF patients.
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