An oral exam is routinely performed by the dentist during the course of an initial comprehensive exam and regular check-ups. An oral cancer exam refers to the identification and management of diseases pertaining to the maxillofacial and oral regions.
The soft tissue of the mouth is normally lined with mucosa, which is 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. These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth (e.g., gums, tongue, lips, etc.). 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. Pathology can also exist in the jaw bone that may not be clinically evident. Your routine examination with your dentist is crucial to annually examine the condition of your teeth and surrounding bone. Tumors and cysts can be identified during this time which will need to be addressed by your oral surgeon.
Treatment of Pathological Diseases
In the majority of cases, the pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and disfiguring, but not life threatening. Chances of survival drastically improves with early detection and treatment.
Oral cancer is a general term used when referring to any type of cancer affecting the tongue, jaw, and lower cheek area. Since it is impossible for the dentist to decisively diagnose a pathological disease without taking a biopsy sample of the affected area, seeking immediate treatment when changes are first noticed.
During the course of a regular check up, the dentist will thoroughly inspect the soft tissue of the mouth and take serious note of any changes. If there are cell changes present, the oral surgeon will take a biopsy of the affected area and send it away to be analyzed by pathologists. When definitive results are obtained, the oral surgeon can decide on the best course of treatment or proper referrals.
If you are experiencing any pain or symptoms that cause you concern, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.