Oral pathology is a specialty of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases, including oral cancer. Pathologists are involved in all areas of disease management, including research, diagnosis, examination, and treatment. Early detection of oral cancer and precancerous conditions is essential for successful treatment. Regular dental exams are an invaluable part of the early detection process.
Oral cancer often goes unnoticed in the mouth as a small white or red spot or sore. Visual exams, biopsies, and other tests can successfully detect early signs of cancer that increase the effectiveness of treatment. Oral pathology also refers to non-cancerous irregularities and conditions that can be addressed. The worst diseases of oral pathology are injuries and oral cancer, but even these can be treated if detected in the early stages.
It is important to remember that not all the symptoms of oral pathology are painful and that the absence of pain does not mean that there is no problem. Identifying the exact problem may require a visit to an oral pathologist, who may even need to take a biopsy sample, but there are general signs you can detect on your own that may indicate the existence of a pathological oral condition. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, oral cancer has an 80 to 90% survival rate when detected in the early stages of development. By detecting developing oral problems early, oral pathologists make treatment as simple and effective as possible and prevent oral diseases from affecting other areas of the body. Any of these factors, along with your personal risk factors, can make you and your mouth unhealthy. Because many people don't realize that they have oral cancer, a diagnosis may not be made until the problem is more advanced, making treatment difficult.
With the early detection of oral cancer and precancerous oral conditions, there is a greater chance of cure. Regular dental exams are an invaluable part of the early detection and treatment of cancer. While there may be no way to prevent cancer, early detection is essential to successfully treating the disease. Regular oral cancer screening can help detect any abnormalities or changes before symptoms appear. As dental specialists, we perform a variety of cancer screenings to reduce the potential harm of these diseases. These tests can successfully detect early signs of cancer that increase the effectiveness of treatment.
Oral cancer treatment can be effective as long as the disease is detected early. In fact, more than 90 percent of cases are successfully treated when oral cancer is detected at its earliest stage. While the diagnosis and treatment of oral cancers represent a large part of oral pathology, they are certainly not the only part. There are a number of non-cancerous irregularities and conditions that oral pathology can address. Oral pathology specifically refers to any disease that may develop inside the mouth, which includes the salivary glands or jaws. Although most oral diseases are benign and not serious, it is always best to have an early evaluation to receive appropriate treatment. One of the most common areas where an infection occurs is the smooth, coral-pink lining of the mouth, called the mucosa.
If you notice an irregularity in the appearance of the lining or structures of the mouth, such as the tongue or tonsils, this may be a sign of a pathological process. Because the mouth is an easily accessible organ, it is generally easy to detect the symptoms of an oral condition in the mouth itself. Jeffrey Sevor, DMD, of Central Florida Periodontics & Implantology encourages everyone to examine their mouths for any signs of oral pathology.