Oral Pathology

The inside of the mouth normally has a moist, soft-tissue lining (mucosa) that is pink and smooth. Alterations in either the appearance or the texture of the mucosa may signal the start of a pathologic process. Changes which occur inside the mouth as well as on the face and neck should be checked by your medical team. While the most serious risk is oral cancer, there are many other oral pathologies.

The following can be early signs of cancerous growth, neoplasm or other disease process:

  • Patches in the mouth that are red (Erythroplasia) or white (Leukoplakia)
  • A sore that doesn’t heal or bleeds frequently
  • A lump or thickened skin in the lining of the mouth
  • Sore throat or hoarseness that continues
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • Loosening of teeth that isn’t explained by periodontal disease
  • Numbness or tingling of the lips, chin, gums, teeth or tongue without an apparent cause
  • Abnormal changes in the bone and/or tooth roots discovered through radiographs
  • New pigmented or discolored tissue changes

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, floor of the mouth, gums, tongue, face, throat or neck. Pain does not always correlate with the seriousness of a condition, and in fact, oral cancer is generally not painful. However, oral pain without an obvious cause should be evaluated.

We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems; take the time to know and recognize its signals. If you do find something concerning, please contact us so we may help.

Lesion removal and biopsies can be done comfortably in our office. We offer our patients a variety of anesthesia options including local, general (asleep), conscious sedation, nitrous oxide gas anesthesia with local anesthesia, and oral sedation with local anesthesia. Our doctors will guide you in choosing a sedation technique that will help you be comfortable and relaxed during your procedure.

All biopsies are forwarded to a board certified oral pathologist for histopathogic evaluation. The biopsy result will be reviewed with you personally at a follow-up examination, generally scheduled one week after the surgery. Your dentist will also receive a copy of the report.