What is Oral Pathology?
Oral pathology is one of nine specialties within dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association. The term can also refer to the conditions of oral disease. Oral pathology handles diseases in the oral structures (teeth, cheeks, and lips), maxillofacial areas (jaws and face) and even parts of the neck. Periodontitis and cavities are two of the most common dental diseases. Oral pathologists investigate causes and effects to treat those diseases and teach patients how to prevent them.
What are the Causes of Oral Cancer?
Cancers in the head and neck regions only represent about 5% of the cancers reported each year. Research has uncovered some factors that lead to oral cancer:
Studies have shown that smokers are four times more likely to die from oral cancer than nonsmokers. The good news is that since the mouth is so easily accessible, we can detect abnormalities in the early stages of development. Also, most disease processes in this region are benign and remedied by medication or simple surgical procedures.
What are the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer?
The following are signs of oral cancer. Watch out for any of them appearing on the face, neck, cheeks, lips, tongue, palate, and gum tissue lining the teeth:
Interestingly enough, pain is not always necessary to diagnose pathology and is often not associated with oral cancer. However, a patient with pain in their face or mouth with no apparent cause is also at risk for oral cancer.
How is Oral Cancer Prevented?
It is better to prevent cancer in its early stages than treat it in later stages. Regular self-examinations are very helpful in identifying symptoms of oral diseases. The easy accessibility of the mouth allows for this, but keep in mind that we can’t easily find something unless we know what we’re looking for.
To perform a self-examination, go to a bathroom mirror with plenty of light and follow the following steps:
We can remedy many oral complications if we catch them in the early stages. If you have any questions about oral pathology or if you think you may have symptoms of the oral disease, please contact our office today at (757) 777-9883.