What is Oral Pathology?
When you visit us for your dental treatments or surgeries, we can perform an oral pathology exam. Oral pathology is the identification and treatment of mouth disease, including oral cancer, tumors, cysts, and lesions. One of the primary reasons we perform oral pathology examinations is to diagnose oral cancer, which is one of the largest groups of cancer that affects the head and neck. In 2022 alone, it is estimated that over 54,000 people will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Our doctors are skilled at identifying potentially dangerous lesions before they develop into a more dangerous condition.
Common Pathologies We Can Identify
- Oral cancer
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Herpes simplex
- Canker sores
- Mumps of the salivary glands
Identification of Dangerous Lesions
By conducting a brief oral examination during your visits, we will look for any abnormalities. If a suspicious lesion is found, we remove the lesion and send it to a pathology lab for the testing. Timely treatment of oral cancer or other disease leads to the best outcome for successful removal. Regular oral pathology testing is recommended, even if you consistently show negative results, as dangerous diseases may develop at any time.
What You Should Be Looking For
If you are experiencing any pain, discomfort or notice lumps in your mouth or throat, you should seek medical attention right away. The beginning signs of a pathological process can include reddish or white patches in the mouth, bleeding sores, lumps in the mouth, and difficulty swallowing or chewing. In some cases with oral pathology, there is no pain or obvious changes, so having a dentist check you regularly is important. We recommend performing at-home oral cancer self-exams every month so that you do not run into any surprises.