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Oral Pathology

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Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management of Oral Disease

Just like any other part of the body, the mouth and face can be subject to pathologic growths or lesions that require the care of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. During their residency training, oral surgeons learn how to detect abnormalities in the mouth, diagnose areas, and treat the pathologies accordingly. Whereas a general dentist may detect a lump or cyst, an oral surgeon will be the one to diagnose the abnormality and devise a treatment plan.

Utah Surgical Arts has four locations in Utah—Provo, Payson, South Jordan, and Lehi. Our team of oral surgeons recognize the importance of oral cancer and diseases, and we screen for these conditions during any evaluation. To receive your oral cancer screening, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Harris, Dr. Park, Dr. Brown, Dr. Wood, or Dr. Holladay, contact our office today.

Types of Oral Pathology

There are multiple types of oral pathologies, including soft and hard tissue conditions. During your first visit, your oral surgeon will evaluate your oral health, which may include taking CBCT scans of your facial bones and tissues. Prior to any treatment, we will discuss your options for anesthesia and sedation. As oral surgeons, we are qualified to safely administer all forms of anesthesia in our offices.

Soft Tissue Pathology

The lining of the mouth, or oral mucosa, is normally a smooth, healthy pink color. It is very important to pay attention to any changes in the appearance of these tissues. We recommend spending time in front of a mirror once a month, looking closely at the inside of your mouth, under your tongue, and around your gums. If you notice any changes to the normal appearance of your mouth, you should contact an oral surgeon for an evaluation.

While many oral lesions are benign (not cancerous), the following alterations or lesions can be signs of a more aggressive pathologic process or cancerous growth. These changes can be seen in the lips, cheek, palate, tongue, floor of mouth, gums, face, and/or neck.

  • Reddish patches or whitish patches in the mouth
  • A sore that doesn’t heal and easily bleeds
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
  • A chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or an earache
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Oral or facial pain without an obvious cause

It is important to note that pain is not always present with oral pathology, even though there may be a serious problem.

Hard Tissue Pathology

In addition to lesions of the skin and mucosa lining the oral cavity, a variety of pathological lesions may affect the jaw bones or the teeth.

Tumors or cysts are growths that commonly appear in the mandible or maxilla and are often associated with an impacted tooth. Tumors are usually solid in nature while cysts are fluid-filled sacs that expand like a balloon within the jaw bone. While tumors and cysts in the jaw bones are most commonly benign, they can be locally destructive, growing and expanding within the jaw, causing significant problems if left untreated.

Treatment for Oral Pathology

After your doctor performs a thorough medical history and physical examination, he may recommend that a biopsy be performed. A biopsy is a simple procedure usually only requiring local anesthesia. A sample of the abnormal tissue, or in some cases all of the tissue, is removed and sent to a pathologist, who examines the tissue under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis. This will help your surgeon determine if any additional treatment is necessary.

Lumps, tumors, and cysts may simply be removed if they are benign. If the pathology is discovered to be cancerous, we will discuss your options for treatment. Most pathologies are treated with minor surgery, antibiotics, or other medications.

AAAHC Accreditation

Utah Surgical Arts is approved by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). This accreditation is difficult to obtain and allows our office to function as a hospital and/or surgical center. Since extensive surgeries must be performed in a surgical center, there are many instances where the patient may be unable to undergo surgery due to the high cost of the hospital or surgical center. If your surgery can be performed at Utah Surgical Arts, the cost savings may be significant. Many patients who were unable to have the procedure due to the high cost involved were able to have the procedure performed at Utah Surgical Arts. Learn More.

Types of Anesthesia

Our surgeons at Utah Surgical Arts offer many anesthesia and sedation options for patients to choose from.

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