When your mouth is healthy, the inner lining is usually pink and smooth. The lining usually changes when there is an issue with your oral health. Issues that affect oral health can indicate an underlying condition or a pathological process.
It is a definite sign of an issue if you notice red and white patches or sores that bleed easily and do not heal. When you notice these things, it is time to see an oral pathologist.
What Is an Oral Pathologist?
Oral pathologists are doctors who specialize in mouth health. They perform oral pathology screenings to examine any suspicious activity in your oral cavity. When you go to your dentist and see any issues like bumps, sores, patches, or bumps, they will typically refer you to a maxillofacial oral pathologist.
What Does an Oral Pathologist Do?
When you go to an oral pathologist, they will first examine the issue and determine the type. They will take a sample of the lesion or sore by performing a biopsy. They will have to use local anesthesia to take the sample, and they will then observe it under a microscope.
One of the conditions that oral pathologists are keen to eliminate is oral cancer. Most people do not know they have oral cancer until it is too late. For this reason, dentists will often refer you to an oral pathologist if they notice any unusual sores, lesions, or bumps. An oral pathologist can give conclusive results on the cause of lesions or sores, or bumps.
Types of Oral Biopsies
A biopsy is a test doctors use to diagnose specific tissues and involves extracting some of the tissue. They use it to identify abnormal cells that may be cancerous or of another kind. Oral biopsies typically come in two forms:
· Incisional Oral Biopsy
Oral pathologists perform this biopsy to remove a portion of a larger mass. They will use this type of biopsy to determine if a mass is benign or malignant.
· Excisional Oral Biopsy
The whole mass of abnormal tissue is extracted in this biopsy instead of the usual small sample. Oral pathologists perform this type of biopsy when the abnormal mass is tiny.
When Should You See an Oral Pathologist?
Oral pathologists are instrumental in determining and diagnosing oral cancer. However, they also diagnose noncancerous conditions. Here are some common ones:
· Cold Sores
These usually occur due to the herpes simplex virus and are called fever blisters. They are the most common lesions that occur, and they manifest as small blisters on the lip. The virus is highly contagious and usually incurable, but it can be treated with creams and ointments.
· Canker Sores
These sores usually form on the mouth's soft tissues or at the gum's base. They can be painful, affecting your eating or speaking ability. The exact cause of these sores is unknown, but they have been linked to emotional stress and oral injury.
· Oral Thrush
Oral thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth, also called candidiasis. It causes red and sore patches to form in your mouth. It is more common in younger children and older adults because of the lower immunity.
For more on when you should see an oral pathologist, visit Weston Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at our office in Weston, Florida. Call (954) 507-6441 to book an appointment today.