The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. Also we need to be concerned with lip cancer because of sun exposure. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process, cancerous growth, or oral pathology:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) 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.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
- A sore on the lip that fails to heal could represent a lip cancer.
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 curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer or other oral pathology.
A variety of lesions can also be found on x-rays that can represent benign lesions, cancer potential lesions, or tumors. See Drs. Gonzalez, Maniscalco or Carr for any bony abnormal finding on a routine panoramic radiographic by your dentist.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and 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.
Drs. Gonzalez, Maniscalco or Carr work with the top surgical pathology group of central Alabama who cover the major hospitals in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. Our Oral Pathology tissue submissions will have the experience of 16 board certified pathologist to render a diagnosis.