A healthy mouth is an important part of eating, speaking, and breathing. Because the mouth has such a wide variety of functions and is exposed to many external environmental factors, it is at an increased risk for the development of tumors and infection.
Oral pathology is the medical term for any disease that can develop inside the mouth, jaws, or salivary glands. There are many oral pathological processes, including
- Strep throat
- Oral cancer
- Burning mouth syndrome
- Herpes simplex virus, most commonly known as cold sores
- Salivary gland disease
- Oral ulceration
- Some autoimmune diseases
If you think that you may be experiencing an oral pathological process, you may notice a change in the appearance of your mucosa. The mucosa is the smooth lining of the mouth that is coral pink in color and is the most common area where we see infections. Other structures that may show a change include the tonsils or tongue. Oral pathology can result in severe complications and may require extensive surgical treatment if not identified early.
Most oral problems are benign, but it is important to have a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon examine your mouth if any symptoms are persistent. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for an oral pathology:
- Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
- A chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
If any of these symptoms are present on your lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck, you should contact our office to schedule an oral examination with one of our skilled surgeons, Dr. Andrew Boyce, or Dr. Kyle Tracy. We will examine your mouth and its surrounding areas thoroughly to detect the presence of infection or disease and recommend treatment if necessary.
If a biopsy reveals cancerous cells, surgery can be performed to remove the affected area. Radiation therapy is also sometimes used for small tumors. This involves high-energy rays that damage cancer cells and stop them from growing. Radiation can be effective before surgery by shrinking the tumor to ease removal during surgery or after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
If you have any suspicious oral activity on your face or mouth, please contact Billings Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center at either of our offices in Billings, MT, our office in Cody, WY, or our office in Sheridan, WY, to schedule a consultation.