Oral Pathology & Oral Cancer

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Oral pathology can involve soft tissue (mucosa) or hard tissue (bone). The mouth is lined with a special type of skin called mucosa. Mucosa is normally smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for pathology. The most serious oral pathology is cancer.

The following conditions may be early warning signs of cancerous growth, neoplasm, or other pathologic process:

  • Red patches (erythroplasia) or white patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
  • An ulcer that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening of the oral mucosa.
  • A fistula (small opening) in the mucosa or on the face.
  • A nodule on or beneath the mucosa.
  • Noninfectious swelling.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
  • Localized expansion of the mandible or maxilla with or without separation or migration of teeth.
  • Unexplained loosening of teeth not related to periodontal disease.
  • Spontaneous numbness or tingling of the lips, chin, gums, teeth or tongue.
  • Incidental radiographic findings revealing evidence of abnormal changes in the bone and/or teeth roots.
  • New pigmented or discolored tissue changes.

These changes may be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gingiva (gum tissue), tongue, floor of the mouth, throat, face, neck, mandible or maxilla. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer.

However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause may also be at risk for oral cancer.

We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination once a month. Remember that the condition and appearance of your mouth is a reflection of your general health. The mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lesions, discolorations, lumps, sores or other abnormal changes. Please contact us if you notice new growths or lesions.

Lesion removal and biopsies can be performed with complete comfort in our office under local anesthesia, intravenous general anesthesia (asleep), intravenous conscious sedation, nitrous oxide gas anesthesia with local anesthesia, oral sedation with local anesthesia. Dr. Turesky will help you to choose the technique which best suites your needs during your consultation appointment.

All biopsies are sent to a board certified oral pathologist for histopathogic evaluation. The biopsy result will be reviewed with you during your follow up examination approximately one week after surgery. A copy of the biopsy report will be sent to your referring dentist.