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Oral Pathology

Home  /  Oral Pathology

Without your health, you having nothing.

At whole dental wellness, we believe a health you starts with a healthy mouth.

In a healthy mouth, the inner lining will be covered with mucosa, a special type of skin that is smooth, pink, and stretchy.  When changes to the appearance of the mucosa are noted, this could be a warning sign that something is going on.   The most serious concern is oral cancer.  The following signs may indicate a cancerous growth or other pathological process:

  • White or red patches in the mouth
  • A thickening or lump in the skin that lines the inside of your mouth
  • Chronic hoarseness or sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

If you have noticed any of these signs or symptoms, be sure to alert us right away.  Sometimes these changes are painful, but the majority of the time lesions appear without a sign or warning.  If present, these changes can be detected in the gum tissue, roof of the mouth, cheeks, lips, face, tongue, and/or neck.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Periodic oral cancer screenings are essential for detecting a problem at its early stages.  At whole dental wellness, we will perform a screening exam of your mouth during your routine dental visit.  There are several factors that can increase your risk of oral cancer, including:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Significant sun exposure (can increase your risk of lip and skin cancer)
  • Tobacco use
  • Previous diagnosis of oral cancer

In addition to looking for changes in the color of the inside of your mouth, we will also feel the tissues of the mouth to check for abnormalities or lumps. If you wear dentures that can be removed, we will ask you to take them out to better inspect the tissue located underneath them.

If we notice anything suspicious, we may either elect to watch the lesion, documenting and photographing it to allow us a quantitative way re-evaluate it again at an appropriate time interval.  Or we may elect to biopsy part or all of the lesion and send it out for a pathology report to get an accurate diagnosis.  Rest assured, should a suspicious lesion be detected, our team members will explain the process to you and ensure we are getting you the best and most timely diagnosis and care.

In addition to our professional screenings, we recommend that you perform monthly oral cancer self-exams to look for changes in the color and appearance of the inside of your mouth.  Remember, the mouth is one of the most important warning systems of the body, so you should always be on the lookout for signs of changes.  Never ignore a suspicious sore or lump. If you’ve noticed a change that is worrisome, call us right away.  We will set up a consultation to find out exactly what’s going on in your mouth.