Pathology of the Oral Cavity and Jaw

Oral Cavity

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.

The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:

  • 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 and/or difficulty in chewing or swallowing

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.

We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and annually at your normal hygiene appointment with your dental team. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Catching a suspicious lesion early and removing it is the most important factor when considering your chances of success in case it turns out to be pre-cancer or cancer.

Jaw Bone

The jaw bone is also an important area to have examined annually by your dentist. Sometimes lesions can occur in the jaw bone without symptoms being noted by the patient. Not all lesions of the jaw bone are cancerous. Most are benign non cancerous lesions. Some may need to be removed and others do not require surgery. Its important that a oral and maxillofacial surgeon evaluates your jaw bone through an exam and panorex x-ray or CT scan to help determine if a biopsy is needed and or surgical removal of the lesion is warranted. 

If you have a lesion in your mouth such as a red spot, white spot, ulcer that fails to heal, swelling, abnormal sensation of your lip and chin along with jaw swelling or loose teeth it is important to contact your dentist and or our office to schedule a consultation. You can reach us anytime at Naples Office Phone Number 239-597-3300.