Providing Treatment For Pathological Diseases
What Is Oral Pathology?
Oral Pathology is the study of any lesions or diseases that occur within the oral cavity. We underestimate the importance of the oral cavity or mouth region. Without the normal functioning of the mouth we would not be able to:
- Speak or sing
- Eat or swallow
- Project social appearance or cosmetics
- Express emotions non-verbally
- Pick up on dehydration via a dry mouth
Should I Perform A Self-Exam?
In order to be able to perform all of the above functions, which most of us take for granted, a lot of structures within the oro-pharynx must come together and function in harmony. In general, a weekly self-exam is important so as to pick up anything that is abnormal in appearance. When performing a self-exam, you should look at all of the following structures:
- Lips (should be smooth)—color depends on ethnicity.
- Teeth—should be white without any decay or dark spots.
- Gingiva (gums) attached around teeth (should be pink and firm).
- Gingiva beyond the ‘firm’ gingiva (should be smooth, pink and moveable).
- Hard and Soft Palates (Pink).
- Posterior oro-pharynx (Pink).
- Tongue (Soft and pink without ulcers, growths or areas of pain).
So What Is Normal And What Is Abnormal?
In general, your gums (gingiva) should:
- Look pink.
- Be firm and smooth.
If you see or experience any of the following in your mouth, there could be a problem:
- White, red, or dark areas in the mouth.
- Firm growths in the mouth.
- Bleeding areas in the mouth.
- Ulcerated areas in the mouth.
- Pain or soreness in the mouth or throat.
- Pain or difficulty swallowing.
- Change in voice.
- Unusual growth of upper or lower jaw bones. This could be a slow process.
- Tingling or numbness or loss of mobility in tongue or lips and gingiva.
- Decrease in saliva.
The most serious problem in the oral cavity is cancer and this can occur in smokers and non-smokers. Most of the time there is no pain associated with cancer. Do not put off going in and getting a thorough exam.