Oral Epithelial dysplasia - Did you know?

How oral epithelial dysplasia works

The term “dysplasia” denotes the abnormal development of a tissue and “epithelial dysplasia (ED)” is used to designate the atypical characteristics of the epithelium (indicating malignant risk) under the microscope.

🤔Did you know how epithelial dysplasia works?

Cells, when insulted by carcinogens like tobacco would undergo damage that is initially reversible. This is a phase of adaptation by the cells and they would return to normalcy when the insult (tobacco) is removed. Also, any insult that could cause inflammation may cause the same pattern of reversible cell damage. 

In the context of the oral epithelium being irritated by, let’s say tobacco, the initial reversible “adaptation” phase may manifest in the form of a hyperplasic epithelium and even mild atypical features. 

Persistence of the tobacco habit may cause the epithelium to slip into a phase of irreversible cell damage. That is, cells do not revert to normalcy even after the removal of the irritant. The body’s usual response would be to get rid of the irreversibly damaged cells by apoptosis (homeostatic control). However, accumulated / induced mutations (due to tobacco) would help the damaged cells to persist (escape apoptosis) and proliferate. These are tumor cells and are histologically atypical. As more cells are affected there is a collective disruption of the tissue architecture. The tissue (epithelial layer) is now termed “dysplastic”.

🔎You could dig deeper into the topic

In fact, we delve a lot more deeper into this topic in our cheatsheet/note -> Oral Epithelial Dysplasia. We talk about,

  • what the term “dysplasia” denotes,

  • how epithelial dysplasia manifests,

  • its diagnostic criteria,

  • architectural changes in the epithelium,

  • cellular changes in the epithelium,

  • grading of dysplasia &

  • clinical significance of epithelial dysplasia.

You could read in detail about Oral Epithelial Dysplasia with our Revision Ninja - Oral Pathology and Medicine Course bundle!


Apart from Notes, you could also get access to numerous MCQs and Videos with English captions/subtitles on various topics in Oral Pathology and Medicine.

We have a video on this topic!

View Oral Pathology Syllabus

📚Other study resources on HackDentistry!

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