In addition to performing various surgical procedures, our oral and maxillofacial surgeons are also extensively involved in diagnosing and treating other oral diseases. This part of an oral surgeon’s work relies heavily on the understanding of pathology and the disease process involved in these conditions.
Oral pathology may involve the bony structures of the maxillofacial region or the soft tissues of the area. These conditions may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through various means.
Many people associate pathology with cancer, and oral pathology does indeed encompass oral cancers. Alongside cancer, our oral surgeons also treats benign lesions such as cysts or benign tumors in the maxillofacial region. Our oral pathology in Irving, Texas, also involves the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections that are commonly seen.
In diagnosing an oral disease, one of our Doctors will begin the process of determining the type of condition based on the clinical examination. In this stage, one of our oral surgeons are visually inspecting the structures of the mouth to identify certain characteristics of the suspicious tissue, such as color, borders, shape, etc. Imaging studies will be obtained to help assess the extent of the disease and if any bony involvement is suspected.
For some conditions, a biopsy is often needed to confirm a suspected diagnosis. In these cases, one of our oral surgeons will surgically remove the lesion or part of it for microscopic examination.
Based on the type of disease diagnosed, definitive surgical management is usually needed. One of your surgeons at DFW Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery will be able to discuss with you the steps needed in order to treat your condition. During oral surgery, hospitalization is often necessary in order to safely and comprehensively treat the patient.
The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we may help.