Oral Pathology San Francisco
San Francisco patients who are treated by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon often suffer from oral pathologies. Conditions categorized as oral pathology simply refer to the area of disease, which include the:
- Salivary glands
- Perioral skin (around the mouth)
- Facial muscles
- Joints of the jaw
These conditions are treated by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, who can perform surgery, prescribe medication, and develop long-term treatment plans to alleviate symptoms or completely heal the cause.
What Oral Pathologies are Treated by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?
There are a wide variety of disorders that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is able to treat. Some of the most common conditions include:
- Oral cancer: Cancer of the mouth.
- Congenital conditions: Cleft palate and lip, bite misalignment, and other problems present at birth.
By maintaining good oral hygiene and dental visits every six months, San Francisco patients can avoid the progression of these oral pathologies through early detection and treatment.
Warning Signs of Oral Pathology
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs of the early stages of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with an oral pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk of oral cancer.
Diagnosing Oral Pathology
The first step to treating oral pathologies is by educating patients on how to perform a self-examination each month. During this self-exam, you should:
- Observe the normal appearance of your mouth and feeling of your mouth to use as a frame of reference. If you see any of the conditions described above consult your oral surgeon for a more thorough exam.
- Note any pain or discomfort as well as the severity. Some patients may have increased tooth sensitivity from previous dental procedures, but any changes in sensation may indicate a deeper problem.
- Touch your jaw, behind your ears, and chin. If you feel any bumps, you should make an appointment with an oral surgeon to get more detailed information.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact SF Oral Surgery for treatment before your condition worsens and more intensive treatment is required.
Treating Oral Pathology
There is a range of treatments available to treat oral pathology and restore any functional and cosmetic damage to your teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. When detected in earlier stages, oral pathology may cause little to no damage. However, San Francisco patients who delay treatment often require:
- Gum grafts
- Bone grafts
- Dental implants
- Corrective jaw surgery
- Resection of bone and/or removal of teeth
While these procedures have advanced significantly, especially with the advent of platelet-rich plasma to speed healing, patients often take weeks or even months to recover fully.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of oral pathology, contact our San Francisco office at 415.776.6710 to schedule an appointment.