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Pain does not always occur when a patient has a serious oral health issue.

Oral Pathology

We’re Experts in Oral Health

Oral pathology diagnoses and treats diseases and disorders of the mouth, lower jaw, head, and neck. Your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems and it is important to address any abnormalities as soon as you notice them. Detecting an abnormality early is key to an easier treatment and successful cure.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Human Papilloma Virus 16 (HPV16)
  • Age 40 years and older
  • Prolonged sun exposure and use of tanning beds

Knowing the Warning Signs

Changes can occur to the skin lining the mouth, or the structures under the skin. Pain does not always occur. The most accurate way to assess these changes is by doing a biopsy and looking at the tissue under a microscope. The following are signs or changes that you should look for:

  • Reddish patches (erythroplakia)
  • Whitish patches (leukoplakia)
  • Sores that fail to heal or bleed easily
  • Ulcers that fail to heal or bleed easily
  • A growth or lump or thickening of the skin
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Lumps or thick tissue on one side of the mouth or face
  • Difficulty with chewing or swallowing
  • Hearing or vision changes
  • Changes in sensation of the face
  • Chronic sinus congestion or nose bleeds

If you notice any warning signs in your own mouth, please see your dentist or oral surgeon for an oral examination.  We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Here are some tips on how to perform a self-examination:

  • Removing any dentures
  • Looking and feeling inside the lips and the front of gums
  • Tilting your head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  • Pulling the cheek out to see its inside surface as well as the back of the gums
  • Pulling out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces
  • Feeling for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) in both sides of the neck including under the lower jaw

Whether you have questions about oral pathology or anything else, we’re here to help. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs above, please schedule an oral examination.