The inside of the human mouth is normally lined with a unique type of skin (mucosa) that has a smooth texture and coral pink color. However, any alteration to this appearance can potentially be a warning sign of a pathological condition or disease. This is where a specific science comes in. Oral medicine and pathology is a special branch of dentistry involving the nature, diagnosis, and management of issues affecting the oral structures (teeth, lips, gums, cheeks, jaws, mouth) as well as parts of the face and neck.
Oral pathologists receive an additional two years of training to identify and treat diseases threatening our dental health, including the mucosa and other parts of the oral-facial system that allows us to speak, chew, or smile. Here at Honest Oral Surgeon, we value the information oral pathology’s research provides to help diagnose and treat our patients. For any questions you may have about oral pathology, feel free to call us at (949) 298-4078.
How Do Oral Pathologists Study Diseases?
The research involved in this practice includes diagnosis of diseases through clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, hard and soft tissue samples, and other examinations.
What Diseases Do Oral Pathologists Study?
An oral pathologist investigates the causes, processes, and effects of oral, maxillofacial (mouth and jaw) and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) diseases or disorders. There are varying fields of oral pathologists who work with such conditions affecting both people and animals. These include but are not limited to:
- Tooth decay.
- Fractured teeth.
- Missing teeth.
- Intrinsically stained teeth – Teeth with stains that run deeper below the external surface.
- Persistent deciduous teeth – Temporary teeth refusing to fall out even after permanent teeth erupt.
- Feline tooth resorption – Condition in which the body begins breaking down and re-absorbing the structures needed to form the tooth, typically starts in the enamel along the gumline and continues toward the tooth’s center.
- Feline stomatitis or “feline gum disease” – Severe, painful inflammation of a cat’s mouth, gums and tooth support structures, resulting from buildup of plaque (bacteria) on and around the teeth.
- Caries – Deterioration and crumbling of a tooth or bone.
- Lesions in the mouth, gums, or skin.
- Eosinophilic granuloma complex (EGC) – A group of inflammatory skin problems in cats. The resulting skin lesions are often very itchy and can be exacerbated by the affected animal licking them.
- Gingivostomatitis – Debilitating but uncommon feline dental disease identifiable by severe and chronic inflammation of a cat’s gums and mucosa.
- Enamel hypoplasia – A defect of enamel only occuring while teeth are still developing, capable of affecting both temporary and permanent teeth. This makes the enamel thinner, leaving your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria and decay.
- Oral neoplasia or oral cancers – Type of cancer that forms in the tissues of your oral cavity (mouth) or oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of your mouth).
Signs of Pathological Disease
Although not every lump or sore is indicative of oral cancer, they shouldn’t be ignored either. Any oral abnormalities, pain, or discomfort should be reported to us when you make your next appointment. The following can be signs that a pathological process or cancerous growth is possibly beginning:
- Reddish (erythroplasia) or white (leukoplakia) patches in your mouth.
- A sore failing to heal and bleeding easily.
A lump or thickening texture on the mucosa lining the inside of your mouth.
- Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, and/or difficulty when chewing or swallowing.
Remember, if you believe you may have identified signs of a developing oral pathological disease or wish to learn more about oral pathology, call Honest Oral Surgeon at (949) 298-4078.