Soft Tissue (Mucosa/Gum) Pathology
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. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process 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 on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness and/or difficulty in chewing or swallowing
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 is often not associated with oral cancer. If you or your dentist notice an area that may be of concern, you should be evaluated to determine if a biopsy is necessary. A biopsy is usually a simple and minor procedure performed under local anesthesia.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Remember that your mouth is the portal to your body and is one of the most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we can assist you with any questions or concerns.
Hard Tissue (Bone) Pathology
The upper and lower jaw bones can be the site of different types of pathology. This includes infections or cysts along the roots of infected teeth, benign and destructive cysts of impacted teeth encompassing large portions of the jaw, or different types of cancer.
These are usually first noticed on routine dental x-rays and the patient is referred to the oral surgeon for evaluation. Symptoms that patients should be concerned with are the following:
- Swelling or growth of the cheek or gums
- Shifting or loosening of teeth
- Fluid draining from the gums
- Numbness of the lips or chin
If these signs or symptoms are present, the patient should be examined to rule out pathology and determine the appropriate treatment. Contact our office at New York Office Phone Number 212-223-0320 to make an appointment for an examination with Drs. Wolf, Perry and Gray.