Oral Pathology

Oral Pathology: What it Says About Your Health
The inside of your mouth can tell a lot about your health. The problem lies in the fact that many people do not pay attention to the warning signs that their mouths are showing, putting their lives in danger when cancer is left to grow without treatment. An oral surgeon is the best person to look inside your mouth and see any abnormalities that need to be inspected further to determine the level of care that you need. It is possible to perform your own self-examination of your mouth on a monthly basis, but letting a professional fully inspect your mouth is also a wise choice for everyone.

The Inside of Your Mouth
In general, the inside of your mouth should be a healthy pink color. If there are any issues inside your mouth that alter this color or make it look bumpy, rather than smooth, professional help should be sought. This includes any type of red or white patches that show up on the lips, cheeks, tongue, gums or anywhere on your throat. These changes that occur in your mouth, throat or face might not be painful, which is why self-examination as well as regular dental checkups are essential.

Dental Exams
During your regular dental checkups, the dentist will examine the soft tissues of your mouth, looking for any irregularities. This includes looking for bumps or lumps that you might have missed or that you have brought to his attention during the exam. It is a good idea to have a baseline x-ray with your dentist to allow him to quickly notice any pathological changes that have taken place in your mouth. The exam will also include all of the areas of your face and neck to rule out any issues in those areas as well.

Oral Cancer Screenings
If oral cancer is suspected or it has been a while since you have been screened, your dentist might want to perform an oral cancer screening at your appointment. This exam, which is painless, uses a laser light to examine the tissues in your mouth. Upon inspection, the light will make all healthy tissue appear dark in color. Tissues that are abnormal and have possible cancer cells will show up white underneath the light. This test is often used in conjunction with the oral exam to back up the findings of a suspicious lump or to rule out the risk of cancerous cells.

Things to Watch for
When you perform your self-exams, there are certain signs to be on the lookout for every time:
•  Bumps or lumps that did not exist before
•  White or red patches
•  Sores that do not go away after a week or so
•  Sores that bleed
•  Consistent problems with your throat, including pain and/or hoarseness
•  Difficulty with your jaw including problems chewing and swallowing

Any signs mentioned above that are found in your mouth should be brought to the attention of your dentist or an OMS right away. This allows for early diagnosis of the issues occurring in your mouth. Oral cancer is quite often treatable, as long as it is caught in its early stages. Anything that seems out of the norm for your mouth, throat or face should be looked at right away to rule out the risk of cancer.

Treatment
Not every lump or sore will need treatment, but in certain cases, something will need to be done. If cancer has been ruled out, you might be given a prescription for antibiotics or provided with a special mouth rinse to kill bacteria in your mouth that is causing the problems in your mouth. In some cases, abnormalities need to be surgically removed to enhance your comfort, increase your ability to chew and speak, and reduce the risk of the cells becoming cancerous.

The health of your mouth is an important aspect of your overall health. Try not to overlook its importance and have a dentist or an OMS carefully inspect your mouth to rule out the risk of cancer or other serious issues. The oral pathology exam is quick and painless, and could be a lifesaver in the end.

Frank RL Frishkey DDS

11725 Highland Meadow
Houston, TX 77089-6827
phone: (281) 484-9400
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Southeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery | www.seoms-houston.com | (281) 484-9400
11725 Highland Meadow, Houston, TX 77089



 

 

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