Maxillofacial (Oral) Pathology
What does the word maxillofacial mean? It means relating to the jaws and face. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists. They treat conditions, defects, injuries and aesthetic parts of the mouth. Along with this, they also treat the teeth, jaws, and face.
What is oral pathology? It is a specialty of dentistry and area of pathology dealing with diseases of the mouth and jaw. For this reason, it deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases. Oral pathology researches and diagnoses diseases. This is through a combination of radiographic, clinical, and microscopic examinations.
The inside of the mouth has a special lining. This special type of skin (mucosa) 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. The following are beginning stage signs of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia);
- Whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth;
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds with ease;
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth;
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness;
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can show up on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology. Likewise, it is often not associated with oral cancer. But, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact Stepanyan Surgical Arts Center so we may help you.
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