What Is Oral Pathology?

Oral pathology is the science of differential diagnosis and treatment of oral cavity & maxillofacial region disease. Dr. Khansari provides biopsy services as well as clinical treatments for many oral diseases, including mouth and throat cancer, mumps, salivary gland disorders, ulcers, Odontogenic Infection, and others.

Is there anything that has you concerned about your oral health? If something in your mouth has changed, such as a sore that’s developed and isn’t healing or suddenly having continuous difficulty in swallowing, it’s important that you’re taking notice. If you’re ready to learn more, call 858.679.0142 or book a consultation.

Characteristics of a Healthy Mouth

The soft tissue of the mouth is normally lined with mucosa, which is a special type of skin that should appear smooth in texture and pink in color. Any alteration of the color or texture of the mucosa may signal the beginning of a pathologic process. The most serious of these pathologic changes (which may or may not be painful) is oral cancer, but there are also many other common pathologic problems.

A healthy mouth has standard elements to show it’s doing well. For example, a healthy mouth typically:

  • Has mucosa lining it
  • Is smooth all over
  • Is a coral pink color

Symptoms of a Mouth That May Need Treatment

If you’ve noticed that something has changed in your mouth, it could be signaling a more serious problem. These changes may be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with oral pathology, and it is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason should see a professional.

For example, if you’ve experienced one of the elements below, it’s important to have a professional take a look:

  • A mouth sore that is not healing and easily bleeds
  • A hard time in chewing or swallowing
  • Patches in or around the mouth (especially if they’re leaning red or white)
  • Changes to the texture of your mouth’s lining, such as thickening or any lumps
  • Consistent sore throat or voice hoarseness

What Oral Changes Could Mean About Your Health

It may be a surprise to most people, but these changes may actually be symptoms or show a risk for oral cancer. If you’ve experienced these changes or something similar, please give Dr. Alireza Khansari, MSD a call at 858.679.0142. He’ll be happy to meet with you and consult to figure out what’s going on.

Common Pathological Diseases

There are many other common pathologic problems besides oral cancer, including:

Geographic Tongue

Also known as Benign Migratory Glossitis or Erythema Migrans, geographic tongue (shown here) is a condition where the tongue is missing papillae (small bumps) in different areas, and a map-like appearance can develop. The condition is usually characterized by red, well-defined areas on or around the sides of the tongue. The red patches (which can look like an unsightly rash) may come and go from hours to months at a time and cause increased sensitivity to certain substances.

Median Palatal Cyst

This cyst is of developmental origin and is essentially a fluid filled skin sac. It usually appears in the middle of the palate and may cause substantial discomfort.

Hairy Tongue

An overgrowth of bacteria or a yeast infection in the mouth that can sometimes cause the tongue to appear hairy and black. This condition is usually a result of poor oral hygiene, chronic or extensive use of antibiotics, or radiation treatments to the head or neck. It is often also seen in HIV positive patients and those who are intravenous drug users. Hairy Tongue may or may not require treatment.

Treatment of Pathological Diseases

When to Seek Help

In most cases, pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and disfiguring, but not life threatening. However, oral cancer is on the rise (especially among men), and immediate diagnosis can be lifesaving. To have a professional assess your symptoms, call our team at 858.679.0142 or book a consultation.

Treatment Options for Less Serious Problems

Antibiotics: in the case of a bacterial infection or persistent soreness, the dentist may prescribe a dose of antibiotics to return the mucosa to its natural state. This will alleviate soreness and discomfort.

Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide: when poor oral hygiene is causing changes to the soft tissue, the dentist may prescribe a diluted hydrogen peroxide mouthwash. This will kill more bacteria than regular mouthwash and improve halitosis (bad breath).

Oral Surgery: if the patient has cysts or abnormal non-cancerous growths, the dentist may decide to completely remove them. This can improve comfort levels, alleviate breathing problems, and make speech substantially easier depending on the location of the cyst.

Preventative Oral Examinations & Screenings

Regular oral examinations and screenings are the first steps towards maintaining your oral health and ensuring that any pathological changes are noticed immediately.

During the course of a regular checkup, Dr. Khansari will thoroughly inspect the soft tissue of the mouth and take serious note of any changes. If there are cell changes present, he will take a biopsy of the affected area and send it away to be analyzed by laboratory specialists. When definitive results are obtained, Dr. Khansari can decide on the best and most effective course of treatment.

Book Your Consultation to Learn More

Here at Poway Perio, under the experience of Dr. Alireza Khansari MSD, we are happy to help you fight periodontal disease and get your teeth and gums back to good health. If you have more questions or would like to book a consultation, we’re happy to discuss your individual situation.

Or, give us a call at 858.679.0142