Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
in Milwaukee WI
When it comes to keeping your mouth healthy, brushing and flossing alone are sometimes not enough. Even with the best oral hygiene habits, some people will still experience oral health problems, including oral cancer. When this occurs, working with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgery team is the best way to restore your oral health. If you’re showing symptoms of oral cancer, Dr. Khader and her trusted team at Community Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery are prepared to help determine your diagnosis.
What is Oral Pathology?
Oral pathology encompasses a variety of conditions: some are self-limiting and resolve with no surgery, and others that are more involved and require diagnosis and treatment by a team that includes an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and an oral pathologist.
Some common examples of oral pathology are ulcers (sometimes referred to as canker sores), cold sores, and viral infections. These typically resolve with minimal intervention and one may or may not seek care for them.
Other conditions that we encourage you to seek care at community oral and maxillofacial surgery for, are ulcers that have been around for more than 2 weeks, white, red, or painful spots in the mouth, and swellings or nodules.
In the field of dentistry and oral and maxillofacial surgery, the oral cavity is seen as a mirror of the body’s systemic health. It is not uncommon for us to see indications of systemic disease in the oral cavity. Some examples include new ulcers that are seen in patients diagnosed later on with celiac disease. Also, patients may experience issues such as painful tongue or mouth symptoms, indicative of vitamin deficiencies or essential mineral deficiencies.
Some pathologies are noted on a clinical examination (which is what your dentist does every 6 months). Others are seen on routine xrays. It is therefore critical to follow up with your dentist every 6 months and make sure you stay up to date on your xray examinations as well. If your dentist notices anything out of the ordinary, they will direct you to see us for a consultation and additional images if needed.
Once we see you, we may recommend a biopsy procedure. That could include removing the pathology entirely, or taking a small piece of it out. We will then send this to an oral and maxillofacial pathologist that we are in close collaboration with and will reach a diagnosis typically within 2 weeks. This will guide our treatment plan (which could include follow ups routinely for observation, or additional surgical treatment).
Oral cancer is any cancer that forms in your mouth or the back of your throat. It’s estimated that oral cancer accounts for around three percent of all cancer cases in America. The condition can affect anyone, but some of its associated risk factors are tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, heavy sun exposure, and the Human Papillomavirus (or also known as HPV).
Signs of Oral Cancer
The signs of mouth cancer can vary from person to person. Common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white patches
- Lumps or thick patches
- A sore that won’t heal
- Chronic sore throat
- Ear pain
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing or speaking
If you notice any of these symptoms or another abnormality in your mouth, don’t wait until your next routine dental exam to see your dentist.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is a serious condition that can quickly progress if left untreated. The best way to catch oral cancer early is to visit your dentist every six months for routine dental check-ups. Even if your mouth looks and feels healthy, a trained eye may notice signs of oral cancer that you don’t know are there. Likewise, performing self-exams at home can be beneficial.
What Happens If I Have Signs of Oral Cancer?
If you have a sore in your mouth that won’t heal, a chronic sore throat, or other symptoms of oral cancer, it’s essential to make an appointment with your dentist sooner than later. They can determine if you have oral cancer by performing a physical exam and X-rays. If they notice something out of the ordinary, they will refer you to us for an additional examination and a biopsy. If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, a personalized treatment plan will be created based on your particular condition and needs to restore the health of your mouth as quickly and smoothly as possible. The treatment usually includes a team of healthcare members in a larger hospital setting.
Why Choose Community Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?
At Community Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Khader and her team will make sure that they provide any patients diagnosed with oral pathology with the most compassionate and supportive care. A diagnosis of oral pathology can be unsettling to patients and families: we are committed to supporting our patients and their families throughout their journeys.
We will make sure that patients are well-informed about their condition and that they are provided the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment modalities in order to achieve the best results.To learn more about how Community Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery can help you diagnose and treat oral cancer, call to schedule your consultation today.