Evaluation & treatment of Oral Pathology
Periodic examinations of the skin and mouth can detect early warning signs of cancer. Our surgeons should evaluate lesions of the face and mouth that do not heal within two weeks. Concerning signs are red or white patches, ulcers that do not heal, persistent swelling, sores that bleed, sores with firmness or thickening, or pigmented skin lesions with the “ABCD’s” : Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variegation, and large Diameter. Factors that may contribute to cancer include tobacco and alcohol use, excessive sun exposure, and family history.
Cysts or tumours may also develop in the jawbones. Such lesions may be the result of the developmental process of the teeth. Some of these growths can be locally aggressive, displacing teeth and destroying other structures in the area.
Your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is uniquely qualified to evaluate and treat such lesions. Evaluation and treatment may include observation, biopsy, laser removal, or excision. Concerning areas are evaluated under a microscope to confirm a diagnosis.
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer.
Early signs of a pathologic process or cancerous growth include:
- 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; and
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate and gum tissue, or around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain, without an obvious cause, may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that the mouth is one of the body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us as we may be of some assistance to you.