Believe it or not, the soft tissues within your mouth can provide clues to your oral, and overall health. When your mouth is healthy, the tissues, including your cheeks, tongue, gums, and lips, have a smooth texture and are pink in color. When changes occur, there may be a problem. Some changes are harmless, while some are minor issues. In some cases, changes can also indicate a serious problem. At Downey Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we can diagnose and treat many of these issues with oral pathology.
Oral pathology is a term that refers to the study of the diseases that affect the mouth. This includes what causes them, how they develop, and what complications they can lead to. Oral pathology also includes the treatment of these issues.
How Do I Know if I Need to Be Seen?
Changes in your oral tissues can indicate that you need to be seen for an evaluation. Some issues may be detected by your general dentist, which would then mean that you would be referred for further diagnosis and treatment. There are also signs that you can watch out for at home. Signs include red or white patches on the soft tissues in your mouth, lumps, sores that do not heal, trouble eating or swallowing, and difficulty breathing. You can perform a check, which is recommended every month, to see if there is anything wrong with your mouth, even if you do not think there is anything wrong. During this self-evaluation, you should look at and feel your lips and gums, check your cheeks, look at the roof of your mouth, and check your tongue.
Diagnosing Issues With a Soft Tissue Biopsy
In some instances, it may be possible to diagnose an issue with a simple visual examination. However, there are some instances in which you may need a soft tissue biopsy. With a soft tissue, we remove a small portion of the abnormality inside of your mouth. We then look at the sample under a microscope, which allows us to see your tissue on the cellular level. This can help us to diagnose the issue more accurately. We can diagnose many different types of pathological diseases, including oral cancer.
Treatment of Issues With Oral Surgery
Depending upon your diagnosis, oral surgery may be recommended as a treatment. With surgery, we can remove a lump or other growth from your mouth. Surgery may be recommended for cysts and other non-cancerous growths, which can help to alleviate any discomfort you might be experiencing. Surgery may also be recommended to remove a cancerous growth as well. In the earliest stages of oral cancer, oral surgery can help to eliminate oral cancer. If we are removing a cancerous growth, we may also remove a portion of healthy tissue around the growth just to ensure that all cancerous cells are eliminated. Another method is to remove the growth in sections and test each section until we detect no more cancerous cells.
If you have noticed any changes in the soft tissues of your mouth, it is important to get them checked out. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Downey Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at 562-459-3311 today.