The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin called mucosa that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any change in this appearance could be a warning sign for some type of pathologic process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, tongue, face and/or neck and gum tissue around the teeth. Pain does not always occur with pathology; however, any patient with facial/oral pain without an obvious cause may also be at risk for oral cancer.
There are about 300 other diseases that may occur in and around the mouth. Many are unique to the oral regions; some are similar to disease seen elsewhere; and still others spread to the oral region from distant sites. Included among these conditions are many that cause serious consequences if not recognized, classified and treated early.
Early recognition, classification and treatment may sound easy enough; however, there are problems. First, the early clinical appearance of many conditions is subtle; and second, more overt clinical features usually are not distinctive. Because of these problems, it is almost always necessary to submit suspect tissues for microscopic examination to determine their true nature.
We recommend performing oral cancer self-examination yearly. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we may help.