An oral exam is routinely performed by the oral surgeon during the course of an initial comprehensive exam. An oral cancer exam refers to the identification and management of diseases pertaining to the maxillofacial and oral regions.
The soft tissue of the mouth is normally lined with mucosa, which is special type of skin that should appear smooth in texture and pink in color. Any alteration of the color or texture of the mucosa may signal the beginning of a pathologic process. These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth (e.g., gums, tongue, lips, etc.). The most serious of these pathologic changes (which may or may not be painful) is oral cancer. There are also many other common pathologic problems, such as, cysts, benign lesions or tumors, bony growths and other similar issues.
Treatment of Pathological Diseases
In the majority of cases, the pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and disfiguring, but not life threatening. However, oral cancer is on the rise (especially among men) and the chances of survival are around 80% if an immediate diagnosis is made.
Oral cancer is a general term used when referring to any type of cancer affecting the tongue, jaw, and lower cheek area. Since it is impossible for the dentist to decisively diagnose a pathological disease without taking a biopsy sample of the affected area, seeking immediate treatment when changes are first noticed might be a life and death decision. For less serious problems, there are several options available, such as:
Antibiotics – In the case of a bacterial infection or persistent soreness, the oral surgeon may prescribe a dose of antibiotics to return the mucosa to its natural state. This will alleviate soreness and discomfort.
Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide – When poor oral hygiene is causing changes to the soft tissue, the oral surgeon may prescribe a diluted hydrogen peroxide mouthwash. This will kill more bacteria than regular mouthwash and improve halitosis (bad breath).
Oral Surgery – If the patient has cysts or abnormal non-cancerous growths, the oral surgeon may decide to completely remove them. This can improve comfort levels, alleviate breathing problems, and make speech substantially easier depending on the location of the cyst.
If you are experiencing any pain or symptoms that cause you concern, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.