Oral Cancer Screening | Branchburg NJ
Soft Tissue Pathology
The inside of the mouth is lined with mucosa that is moist, smooth and pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a sign of pathology. The following can be signs 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
- A 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 notices any area that may be of concern you should be evaluated to determine if a biopsy is necessary. This is usually a very simple and minor procedure done under local anesthesia where either a small piece of tissue or the entire lesion is removed. Resorbable sutures are placed and a one week follow up visit is scheduled to review the biopsy results.
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Jaw Bone Pathology
The upper and lower jaw bones can be the site of many different types of pathology. This includes simple things such as infections or cysts along the roots of infected teeth, destructive cysts encompassing large portions of the jaw, benign but locally aggressive tumors, 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 the presence of any pathology and determine the appropriate treatment.