What Is Oral Pathology?
The inside of your mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin, known as the mucosa, which is smooth and coral pink in color and serves as a protective barrier between your body and any harmful bacteria or substances you might come into contact with. Any time you notice an alteration away from this appearance you should be on the lookout and treat it as a warning sign for a possible pathological process. The most serious kind of oral pathology is oral cancer, and the process of oral pathology is simply the practice of identifying whether or not the discolorations you find in your mouth are the result of a routine change or are a sign of a more serious condition like cancer. If you’ve worried about whether or not you’ve contracted an oral condition you can look out for the following signs for the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth.
Signs Of Pathology or Oral Cancer
- Reddish patches, known as erythroplasia, in the mouth
- Whitish patches, known as 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
Be aware that these changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck as you search for oral pathologies. 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 or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer, and just because your oral pathology does not cause you pain does not mean it is not cancerous.
We recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores and please contact us so we may help you or explore our oral procedures page to see what we can offer if you do need an oral pathology examination or other service performed on your mouth.
If you feel that you or someone you know has any of the symptoms that have been discussed, or if you have any questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your doctor so we may be of some assistance to you.