What Is Oral Pathology?
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.
Common Pathological Diseases
There are many common pathological problems besides oral
There are many common pathological problems besides oral cancer, including:
- Geographic Tongue: Also known as Benign Migratory Glossitis or Erythema Migrans, geographic tongue 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.
What Oral Changes Could Mean
About Your Health
What Oral Changes Could Mean About Your Health
If you’ve experienced oral changes or something similar, please give Dr. Alireza Khansari, MSD a call at 858.679.0142 or schedule an appointment. He’ll be happy to meet with you and consult to figure out what’s going on.
Questions About Oral Pathology
What are the 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
What are the 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 are treatment options for problems less serious than oral cancer?
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.
How do I maintain oral health and ensure pathological changes are noticed immediately?
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.
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