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Oral Pathology


Woman smiling while at dental officeWhen the soft tissues in your mouth are healthy, they are smooth in texture and pink in color. While any changes in the texture or color of your oral tissues may be nothing, they can also indicate a problem. If you see something unusual about the tissues within your mouth, it is important that you do not ignore the abnormality. Any changes should be examined right away. At David Thurber, DDS - Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we can diagnose, and treat, a variety of different oral health issues with oral pathology.

Types of Pathological Diseases


There are several different pathological diseases. Oral pathology specifically deals with the diagnosis and treatment of any changes that occur in the oral cells, tissues, or organs. Types of pathological diseases include:
•  Hairy tongue. This pathological disease is the result of an overgrowth of bacteria. This can be caused by poor oral hygiene, but it can also be the result of long-term use of certain antibiotics. Your tongue appears hairy and has an almost black color to it.
•  Geographic tongue. This disease affects the papillae that cover your tongue. Normally, the whole tongue is covered with these small bumps. However, with geographic tongue, there are patches of missing papillae that can result in a map-like appearance. The affected areas can also become red and painful.
•  Median palatal cysts. These are cysts that occur in the roof of the mouth. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that usually occur as a result of an infection. While benign, or noncancerous, they can still cause a significant amount of pain.
•  Oral cancer. Oral cancer is the most serious pathological disease. It can strike anywhere inside the mouth. Early detection and treatment are key. Without them, oral cancer can be fatal.

Diagnosing Pathological Diseases


If you notice any changes in the tissues inside your mouth, a thorough oral exam is needed. We begin by visually examining the mouth, taking a closer look at the affected area. Images of your mouth are often taken. We may also perform a soft tissue biopsy. A soft tissue biopsy is an important diagnostic tool often used for diagnosing or ruling out oral cancer. We remove a small section of the affected tissue for closer examination under a microscope. There are a few different types of biopsies that may be used, including excisional, incisional, punch, and brush.

How Are Pathological Diseases Treated?


The exact treatment that you receive will depend upon your diagnosis. Except for oral cancer, most pathological diseases are not life-threatening, but they should still be treated. Treatments include:
•  Antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection, an antibiotic can help to eliminate the harmful bacteria in your mouth. At the same time, they can also help to alleviate pain.
•  Prescription mouthwashes. If your oral hygiene practices are poor, a prescription mouthwash can help to eliminate harmful bacterial buildup and infections. They should be used in conjunction with proper hygiene practices.
•  Surgery. In some cases, oral surgery may be needed. Surgery can be used to remove cysts and other noncancerous growths. It can also be used to remove cancerous growths to stop the disease from spreading. Cancer may also require some additional treatments as well.

If you notice any changes in your mouth, even minor ones, it is important to have those changes looked at right away. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call David Thurber, DDS - Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today at 315-457-9999.
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