Just like any other part of the body, the mouth and face can be subject to pathologic growths or lesions that require the care of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Soft Tissue Pathology
The lining of the mouth, or oral mucosa, is normally a smooth, healthy pink color. It is very important to pay attention to any changes in the appearance of these tissues.
While many oral lesions are benign (not cancerous), the following alterations or lesions can be signs of a more aggressive pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches or whitish patches in the mouth
- A sore that doesn’t heal and easily bleeds
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- A chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or an earache
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Oral or facial pain without an obvious cause
These changes can be seen in the lips, cheek, palate, tongue, floor of mouth, gums, face, and/or neck.
It is important to note that pain is not always present with oral pathology even though there may be a serious problem.
After your doctor performs a thorough medical history and physical examination, he may recommend that a biopsy be performed. A biopsy is a simple procedure usually only requiring local anesthesia. A sample of the abnormal tissue, or in some cases all of the tissue, is removed and sent to a pathologist, who examines the tissue under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis. This will help your surgeon determine if any additional treatment is necessary.
Hard Tissue Pathology
In addition to lesions of the skin and mucosa lining the oral cavity, a variety of pathological lesions may affect the jaw bones or the teeth.
Tumors or cysts are growths that commonly appear in the mandible or maxilla and are often associated with an impacted tooth. Tumors are usually solid in nature while cysts are fluid-filled sacs that expand like a balloon within the jaw bone. While tumors and cysts in the jaw bones are most commonly benign, they can be locally destructive, growing and expanding within the jaw, causing significant problems if left untreated.
Where can I get oral pathology treated in Utah County?
Drs. Harris, Park, and Brown of Utah Surgical Arts maintain two practice offices located in Provo, Payson, and South Jordan, UT, serving all of Utah County and Salt Lake County and are available to schedule your surgery at either of their locations.
More Information about Oral Pathology: