Oral Pathology Atlanta

Oral pathology screening helps dentists diagnose and treat diseases affecting the mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw. Our dentists routinely provide oral pathology services such as clinical exams, lab testing, and digital imaging to identify the cause of any oral health problems. It is the first step in proper treatment.

Oral Screenings – the Process

Our doctors provide oral screenings for various oral pathologies, including oral cancer. During your appointment, the doctor thoroughly examines your teeth, gums, oral cavity, jawbone, and the lining of the cheeks and lips. X-rays and 3D images are taken and evaluated. If necessary, a biopsy is performed on any areas of concern.

An oral biopsy requires removing some tissue on any lesions or abnormal tissue. The tissue is evaluated under a microscope and may be sent to a lab for additional evaluation if necessary. While our doctors always strive to process biopsies as quickly as possible for your peace of mind, keep in mind that great care must be taken to provide an accurate diagnosis. This may take one to two weeks. We always contact you as soon as we have your oral biopsy results.

When is an Oral Biopsy Needed?

When your dentist recommends an oral biopsy, do not panic. Although some oral lesions or other abnormalities may be a warning sign of oral cancer, other conditions may cause lesions, ulcers, or abnormalities, including oral warts, canker sores, thrush, mucocele, frictional hyperkeratosis, and fibromas. Some of these may require treatment with medication or surgical removal. In contrast, others heal on their own or can be left alone and monitored by your dentist.

Signs of Oral Pathology

Any time the skin lining the inside of the mouth (mucosa) changes color or becomes inflamed, see one of our doctors or your dentist. The interior of the mouth should be a healthy, coral pink color. Some signs of oral pathology include:

  • A lump or thickening of the skin inside the mouth
  • Thickening of the gums
  • Chronic bleeding of the gums or oral tissues
  • A lump or mass in your neck
  • A sore that won’t heal and bleeds easily
  • Changes in your voice
  • A chronic sore throat or hoarseness, or a chronic feeling that something is stuck in your throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw
  • Numbness in your tongue or other areas of your mouth
  • Pain in the mouth without an apparent cause or reason that doesn’t go away
  • Red patches (erythroplasia), white patches (leukoplakia), or both (erythroleukoplakia) on your tongue, gums, tonsil, or lining of your mouth

If any of these symptoms last longer than two weeks, make an appointment with one of our doctors for an oral pathology exam. We can determine if there is cause for concern and, if necessary, perform a biopsy. Our goal is always to provide you with the best oral pathology services and care possible.

Self-Checks for Oral Cancer and Other Pathologies

Your mouth affects your overall health and can be an early warning system for problems. Each month, you should perform an oral cancer self-exam to make sure you catch any indications of a problem early and pursue proper care.

To perform an effective exam:

  • Look at and feel around the inside of your lips and both sides of your gums for lumps or discoloration
  • Examine and feel the roof of your mouth
  • Stick out your tongue, looking at the top, sides, and bottom. Feel beneath the tongue, between the teeth
  • Check your lymph nodes for swelling
  • Feel the sides of your neck and lower jaw for lumps
  • Do not ignore any suspicious sores or lumps
  • Schedule an oral pathology evaluation if you discover any abnormalities

Our board-certified specialists will perform a thorough examination of your oral cavity. Catching oral pathology early can provide more treatment options. Call one of our offices to schedule an appointment or complete our Request an Appointment form.