Oral Pathology and How It’s Related to Oral Surgery
Oral pathology is a specialty branch of dentistry that identifies and manages diseases and abnormalities affecting the oral and maxillofacial (mouth and jaw) areas. At Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas, our dedicated oral surgeons in the Dallas area also specialize in oral pathology. We’re capable of diagnosing various diseases affecting the mouth, jaw, salivary glands, temporomandibular joints, facial muscles, and more. If it’s suspected that a person has an oral pathology, a biopsy is a type of surgical procedure involving taking a tissue sample so that it can be analyzed more closely under a microscope.
Common Oral Pathology Diseases We Can Diagnose
The primary role of an oral pathologist is to identify and diagnose oral and maxillofacial issues as quickly and as accurately as possible, as early detection and treatment often save lives. Our facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to aid in oral pathology services. We’re capable of diagnosing many types of malignant and benign oral conditions. Some of the most common oral pathology diseases and abnormalities that we diagnose for our Dallas-area patients include:
- Oral cancer
- Fungal infections
- Herpes of the mouth
- Salivary gland tumors
- Soft-tissue sores
- Dry mouth
- Canker sores and cold sores
- Oral ulcerations
- Oral thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth)
- Macroglossia (an enlarged tongue)
- Gingivitis and periodontitis
- Burning mouth syndrome
- Aphthous and migratory stomatitis
The Importance of Detecting Oral Cancer Early
Did you know that approximately 36,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, according to statistics from the American Cancer Society? Unfortunately, nearly 7,000 of them will die from the disease. Oral cancer has a higher death rate because it’s often not caught until it has spread elsewhere in the body. Vigilance on the patient’s part is a significant factor in achieving a positive outcome after an oral cancer diagnosis. If you’re able to spot concerning symptoms early, the disease will respond better to treatment, and it will be less likely to metastasize. Our oral surgeons at Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas provide various oral cancer screening services, which may include visual examinations, biopsies, and more to detect oral cancer early enough for our patients to benefit from treatment.
Saving Lives: Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The inside of your oral cavity is lined with a type of tissue known as mucosa, which is generally smooth and pink when it’s healthy. Any of the tissues in the mouth, including the tongue and bone tissue in the jaw, can develop a malignancy. Patients should regularly examine their mouths for problematic spots, as regular self-examination often detects issues far earlier than your oral specialist who is less likely to find something unless they know what to look for specifically. Here are some common warning signs that may indicate a problem:
- Sores that bleed easily and do not heal in a timely fashion
- A lump on the tongue or elsewhere on the inside of the mouth
- Red or white patches that have an unusual appearance and don’t resolve with time
- Noticeable thickening of the skin found inside your mouth
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- A persistent sore throat or hoarseness
When to See an Oral Pathologist Near You in the Dallas Area
If you’ve noticed any of these symptoms on your tongue, gum tissue, palate, cheeks, lips, face, or neck, be sure to mention them to an oral surgeon or oral pathologist right away. Please keep in mind that any of these symptoms can result from a number of other conditions, including the common cold, so don’t panic that you have oral cancer simply because you’ve had a sore throat for a few days. Even so, it’s in your best interest to be evaluated by an oral pathologist near you in the Dallas area as quickly as possible to rule out cancer. Factors that place you at a higher risk for developing oral cancer include chronic use of tobacco and alcohol, poor oral hygiene, poor nutrition, and certain lingering irritations caused by ill-fitting dentures.
Contact Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas Today
If you do notice a suspicious growth or lesion in any of your oral or maxillofacial areas, one of our oral surgeons at Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas can take a sample of the tissue to be biopsied. In cases when growths are determined to be malignant, our oral surgeons can guide you on seeking treatment and work with an oncologist if any advanced surgery is needed to remove the tumor or if reconstructive surgery is required after the cancer is treated. Contact Oral Surgery Associates of North Texas to learn more about our services related to oral pathology in the Dallas area. We’re here for you!