Oral pathology comes in many forms. While most types of oral pathology are not serious, some are, and that’s why it’s important to catch them early. Your dentist should do a thorough examination of your oral cavity, lips, and neck at every checkup. When dentists notice a potential sign of oral pathology that they think should be looked into, they send patients to the office of Dr. Greg A. Roberts Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery of Ogden.
While oral cancer is not particularly common — 3% of diagnosed cancers are oral cancer — it’s treatable in its early stages.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
The largest risk factors for oral cancer are smoking, drinking alcohol, and being infected with HPV-16. However, while it is estimated that 70% of oral cancers are due to HPV-16, fewer than 1% of those with this infection develop oral cancer. Therefore, we do not routinely test for it. Instead, we look for signs of a possible infection, including sores in the mouth, hoarseness, swelling, and difficulty swallowing.
According to the oral cancer foundation, there is an 80%-90% survival rate with oral cancers caught early. And while getting a checkup every six months is essential to early detection, doing your own monthly self-checks can help even further. What does this entail?
Self-Exam for Oral Cancer
Examine the inside of your mouth with a flashlight, looking for unusual bumps or sores that weren’t there before. Remember to look in the spaces between your lips and gums and under your tongue.
Keep in mind that finding sores, lumps or bumps isn’t automatically a cause for concern, but if they don’t heal in two weeks it’s a good idea to get them checked out by a qualified dentist or oral surgeon.
Even if you don’t discover anything unusual in your oral examination, it’s still important to get checked regularly, because sometimes the signs of oral pathology are subtle and undetectable to the untrained eye.
Treatment for Oral Cancer
While most mouth lesions are not cancer, it’s important to check them checked out, because if it is, you will want to start treatment as soon as possible. The first step is getting a biopsy.
If the biopsy results show a malignancy, your treatment might include oral surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Oral surgeons often remove small tumors in their early stages. Larger tumors might require removal of part of the jawbone, hard palate, throat, or larynx as well. Depending on the extent of these oral surgeries, they might be followed by reconstructive dental surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Oral Surgeon in Ogden
If you’re concerned about any new bumps, lumps, or discolored patches in your mouth tongue, or lips, be proactive and make an appointment at Dr. Greg A. Roberts Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Dr. Roberts will diagnose your condition and provide the proper treatment to get you back on the path to wellness. Call our Ogden office today.