Oral Pathology

Each year in the United States, more than 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer. Oral pathology screening increases the chances of early detection and diagnosis, early treatment, and a better outcome.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Pathology

The special type of skin (mucosa) on the inside of a healthy mouth is smooth and coral pink in color. Changes or discolorations in oral tissue could be a warning sign of oral pathology. The most serious of these is oral cancer.

But there are other warnings signs and symptoms. The changes listed below can affect the lips, cheeks, palate, gum, tongue, face, or neck. They don’t necessarily mean you have an oral disease or oral cancer. But if they persist for more than two weeks, it’s important to schedule an appointment for an exam.

  • A lump or thickening of the skin inside the mouth
  • 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 obvious 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


What You Can Do

  • Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems.
  • Each month, perform an oral cancer self-examination.
    • Look at and feel the inside of your lips and the front of your gums for lumps or discoloration.
    • Look at and feel the roof of your mouth.
    • Check the insides of your cheeks and your back gums.
    • Stick out your tongue and look at the top and sides and beneath it.
    • Feel both sides of your neck and lower jaw for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands).
  • Don’t ignore suspicious lumps or sores.
  • Schedule an oral pathology evaluation.

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.