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Oral Pathology


In a healthy mouth, the inner lining will be covered with mucosa, a special type of skin that is smooth and pink. When changes to the appearance of the mucosa are noted, this could be a warning sign that something is going on with the pathology of your mouth, and the most serious concern is oral cancer. The following signs may indicate a cancerous growth or other pathological process:

•  White patches or leukoplakia in the mouth
•  Red patches or erythroplasia in the mouth
•  A thickening or lump in the skin that lines the inside of your mouth
•  Chronic hoarseness or sore throat
•  Difficulty swallowing or chewing

These changes can be detected in the gum tissue, palate, cheeks, lips, face, tongue, or neck. Pain might occur, but isn't always present, especially with oral cancer. However, if you do notice any oral or facial pain without an obvious reason or cause, you could be at risk for developing oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Screenings


Periodic oral cancer screenings are essential for detecting a problem while it is still treatable. Most dentists will perform an exam of your mouth during a routine dental visit in order to screen for oral cancer, and factors that can increase your risk include:

•  Heavy alcohol consumption
•  Significant sun exposure, as this can increase your lip cancer risk
•  Tobacco use
•  Previous diagnosis of oral cancer

In addition to looking for changes in the color of the inside of your mouth, we may also feel the tissues of the mouth to check for abnormalities or lumps. If you wear dentures that can be removed, we will likely ask you to take them out to better inspect the tissue located underneath them.

Treating Oral Cancer


If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, you may need one of many treatment options, including: surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. However, before commencing with the treatment, other oral health issues may need to be addressed. The reason for this is to reduce the likelihood of developing a post-therapeutic complication. Teeth that are in poor health due to cavities and periodontal disease may need to be extracted prior to oral cancer treatment in order to avoid post-radiotherapy surgery. This is essential because post-radiotherapy surgery can impact the blood supply to the jaw bone, and may lead to osteonecrosis, a condition in which the jaw bone loses its ability to repair itself.

We recommend that you perform monthly oral cancer self-exams to look for changes in the color and appearance of the inside of your mouth. Keep in mind that the mouth serves as one of the most important warning systems of the body, so you should always be on the lookout for signs of changes. Never ignore a suspicious sore or lump. If you've noticed a change that you feel could be a sign of a change in your oral pathology, don't hesitate to call us at (212) 287-2483. We'll set up a consultation to find out exactly what's going on in your mouth.

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Dr. Del Valle and Dr. Shahgoli offer this blog to our patients and the community. Our hope at Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group is that our blog will cover the subjects that you and your family may be interested in.
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Manhattan Maxillofacial Surgery Group
16 E 52nd Street, Suite 1101
New York, NY 10022
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CONTACT
manhattanmaxillofacial@gmail.com
Phone: (212) 287-2483
Fax: (646) 607-2957
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