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Oral Pathology

Woman smiling while at dental officeOral pathology is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. The term oral pathology can also denote conditions of oral disease. This practice deals with diseases in the teeth, lips, cheeks, jaws, face, and neck.

Two of the most common dental problems are cavities and periodontitis, and both are treatable by oral pathology. Dr. Wallace and Dr. McKnight, and their team investigate causes and effects to treat diseases and help our patients prevent them.

Causes of Oral Cancer

Only about 5 percent of the cancers reported in America each year are in the head and neck regions. Oral cancer has many different causes, including improper nutrition, improper oral hygiene, rough surfaces on teeth that cause irritation, and dentures that don’t fit properly. The most common cause by far is frequent use of alcohol and tobacco. Research has shown that smokers are four times more likely than nonsmokers to die of oral cancer. However, combinations of the above factors are also responsible.

Fortunately, most disease processes in the oral regions are benign and treatable by medication and surgery. We can also detect potential problems early on because of how accessible the mouth is.

Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Signs of oral cancer can show up on the face, cheeks, neck, tongue, lips, palate, and gum tissue lining the teeth. Contact us if you notice any of the following abnormalities in any of the those areas:
•  Leukoplakia (white patches)
•  Erythroplasia (red patches)
•  Thick skin or lumps in the inside of the mouth
•  Sores that bleed easily and don't heal
•  Difficulty chewing and swallowing
•  Chronic hoarseness or sore throat

Odd as it may sound, pain in the mouth and facial regions is not always a sign of oral cancer and isn’t always used to diagnose oral pathologies. However, patients who experience pain in their mouths or faces with unknown causes are also at risk for oral cancer.

Preventing Oral Cancer

Striving to prevent cancer in its earlier stages is more effective than trying to treat it in more advanced stages. You can also identify symptoms of oral cancer by doing regular self-examinations, due to the mouth’s ease of access. But remember that it’s hard to find a complication if you don’t know what it looks like.

How to Perform a Self-Examination

Find a mirror in a well-lighted place and perform the following steps:
•  Remove any removable retainers, clear aligners or dentures if you are wearing any
•  Examine and feel the front of your gums around your teeth and the inside of your lips
•  Tilt your head back to feel the roof of your mouth
•  Pull out your cheeks to look at the insides and backside of your gums
•  Stick out your tongue and examine all of its surfaces
•  Feel your neck and lower jaw for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes

If we catch them in their early stages, many oral problems are remediable. Pay attention to your mouth, and contact us right away if you detect any complications.

For more information, please contact our office at 214-363-9946.

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Dallas Oral Surgery Associates, 8315 Walnut Hill Lane, Suite 225, Dallas, TX 75231 • 214-363-9946 • • 9/28/2023 • Page Phrases: oral surgeon North Dallas •