Oral Pathology

In this country, nearly 50,000 people are diagnosed every day with oral cancer, according to statistics published by the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Early detection of oral cancer is critical. But unfortunately, many people are unaware that they have it because it often comes along with no apparent signs or symptoms.

The inside of a normal mouth has a smooth, pink appearance. If there are any anomalies, your dentist is likely the one who will notice first. It is recommended that patients get a biopsy immediately, and this is where Burnham Oral Surgery comes into the picture.

If your dentist has found something in your mouth that looks suspicious and it turns out to be cancer, your prognosis is significantly better when it is detected and dealt with early. Don’t delay. Call us right away so we can determine what is going on by taking a biopsy of the tissue in question.

Common Signs of Oral Cancer or Other Pathological Processes

Most people don’t typically examine the insides of their mouths to look for abnormalities, although we do recommend a self-examination at least once a month. Since most don’t do this, it is one of the reasons why it is so important to see your general dentist twice each year for examinations. Your dentist will probably be the one to spot any abnormality, such as a lump or sore, that might need to be biopsied.

Some of the common signs of developing oral cancer include:

  • A sore in the mouth that continues to bleed and seems resistant to healing
  • Areas on the lining of the mouth that seem thicker than others
  • Lumps or crusty areas on the inside of cheeks or on the gums
  • Anything on the soft tissue that is red or white
  • Throat issues, such as a chronically sore throat or difficulty swallowing
  • Unexplained and persistent hoarseness
  • Lumps along the neck or face

These physical changes are usually not accompanied by pain, although that is not always the case.

When a Biopsy Is Necessary

At Burnham Oral Surgery, Dr. Michael Burnham and Dr. Anne Stearns have expertise in managing pathologic conditions of the mouth and throat.

If you have an abnormality on the inside of your mouth or throat, we can perform a biopsy, which is the removal of a small piece of the suspicious area. Our lab will conduct a microscopic evaluation of the tissue and present an accurate diagnosis. The earlier we examine the area, the better your chance of fully recovering and avoiding further damage.

Often treatment is simple, and we will excise the suspicious tissue in-office. If the area turns out to be oral cancer, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include removing it surgically and reconstructing the area as needed. Radiation and chemotherapy might also be recommended.

Don’t put off seeking treatment for any oral cavity abnormalities. Early diagnosis significantly improves the chance for a good outcome. Call us immediately!