Oral Pathology

Oral & Maxillofacial pathology will include any type of growth, swelling, lesion, sore or abnormality that can occur within the mouth or facial regions. The mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin called mucosa which has a coral pink color. Any change in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. There are many conditions that may look suspicious and they include the following:

  • Ulcerative lesions
  • White lesions
  • Red-blue lesions
  • Pigmented lesions
  • Salivary gland disease
  • Cysts of the oral region
  • Odontogenic (tooth) and non-odontogenic tumors
  • Inflammatory jaw lesions
  • Metabolic lesions of the jaws
  • Lesions of the face

Should Dr. Roberson agree that something looks suspicious, a biopsy may be recommended. Dr. Roberson will perform the biopsy in his office. The biopsy specimen will be sent to a pathologist who examines it under a microscope. The pathologists will inform Dr. Roberson the diagnosis of the specimen as well as its benign or malignant potential. Dr. Roberson will then design a treatment plan specific for the type of lesion diagnosed in your mouth.

The biggest concern patients have about lesions in the mouth is if it is cancer. Since the mouth is an area where changes can be seen easily, oral cancer can be detected in its early stages. If you are a smoker, excessive user of alcohol, user of smokeless tobacco, then this classifies you as a high risk for cancer. You should see your Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon or Dentist for a yearly examination. The following are signs that may represent the beginning of a pathologic or cancerous growth.

Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth

  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening of the tissues in the head & neck region
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

Please remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. Do not ignore any suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact our office if you discover something unusual within your mouth. Early diagnosis and treatment may well be the key to complete recovery.