Becoming an oral pathologist requires an advanced education that lasts an average of 37 months. Currently, there are 14 programs in the United States that offer this specialty. An oral pathologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases and conditions related to the mouth, head, and neck region. In most cases, you will be referred to an oral pathologist, but there are times when you may want to go straight to the source.
Sometimes, even the healthiest people experience pain, bleeding, or unusual symptoms in their mouth. Oral pathology helps us find the answers we need. It is a branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing diseases that affect the oral and maxillofacial regions. This includes any disease that can develop inside the mouth, such as the salivary glands or jaws.
Most oral diseases are benign and not serious, but 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 any irregularities in the appearance of this lining or structures of the mouth, such as the tongue or tonsils, this may be a sign of a pathological process. Canker sores are also common and can be caused by oral injuries, allergic reactions, and emotional stress. ViziLite Plus is a tool used to detect abnormalities in the mouth and facilitate the detection of oral cancer.
It uses a specially designed light source to highlight any irregularities. To ensure early detection of oral cancer and precancerous conditions, it is important to keep an eye on things yourself and attend routine dental appointments. Chronic hoarseness or sore throat and difficulty chewing or swallowing are also signs that you should see an oral pathologist. He or she will perform a thorough examination of your mouth for any infections or diseases and create a personalized treatment plan to restore your oral health. Oral pathology takes into account your personal health history to consider what existing medical conditions might specifically affect you.
Red or white spots, injuries and open sores that don't heal, gum swelling and pain, or visible recoiling of the gum line are also signs that you should see a trained oral pathologist.
Anything that prevents you from speaking, smiling, chewing, and swallowing comfortably is an oral problem.