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.
Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons have extensive experience in evaluating and treating abnormalities of the soft and hard tissues (Pathology) of the mouth, facial skeleton and skin of the head and neck. Abnormalities of oral tissues are often noticed by the patient, or discovered upon routine dental examination by your dentist. When these abnormalities appear suspicious for possible pathology, a biopsy (surgical sampling) of the tissue may be indicated. Biopsies are normally performed comfortably in the clinic setting under local or light sedation. The biopsy specimen is then sent to a pathologist ( medical or dental specialist) for microscopic examination, and the results are usually available within a week following the procedure. Once the results are received, Dr Dr. Rowshan and Dr. Pellett will review them with you, and will discuss any further treatment that may be indicated.
Oral cancer screening are very important in detecting lesions that either are, or have the potential to progress into cancerous lesions. Some may also be noticed by the patient but may be ignored, as they are usually painless.
Lesions that may be suspicious and should be examined 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
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- Any asymmetric colored lesion with rough texture
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue 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 or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
We would 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, please contact us so we may help.