Oral Pathology

What is Oral Pathology?

Oral pathology is the part of oral & maxillofacial surgery that diagnoses and treats diseases and disorders of the mouth, lower jaw, head, and neck. The inside skin of the mouth, called mucosa, should be smooth and pink. If the mucosa is abnormal in color and/or texture, this may be a warning sign. If you notice any warning signs in your own mouth, please see your dentist or oral surgeon for an oral examination. Your mouth is one of your body's most important warning systems. Detecting an abnormality early, such as cancer, is key to an easier treatment and successful cure. The doctors at Nebraska Oral & Facial Surgery are trained to diagnose and treat oral and facial diseases, including cancer. 

Monthly Self-Examinations

How to Perform a Self-Examination

The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, recommends everyone to perform an oral cancer self-exam each month. 

  1. Remove any dentures.
  2. Look and feel inside the lips and the front of gums.
  3. Tilt head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth.
  4. Pull the cheek out to see its inside surface as well as the back of the gums.
  5. Pull out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces.
  6. Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) in both sides of the neck including under the lower jaw.

What to Look For

  • White patches of the oral tissues — leukoplakia
  • Red patches — erythroplakia
  • Red and white patches — erythroleukoplakia
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • An abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • A mass or lump in the neck

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

  • Alcohol and Tobacco
    *Using alcohol and tobacco together increases the risk of oral cancer 15 times over the use of one or the other.
  • Infection with sexually transmitted HPV16 virus has been linked to a subset of oral cancers.
  • Oral cancer is more prevalent in patient's ages 40+, although its becoming more commonly seen in patient's under 40 years.
  • Prolonged sun exposure and tanning bed use increases the chance of lip cancer.

We're Here to Help

Whether you have questions about oral pathology or anything else, we're here to help. If you're experiencing any of the warning signs above, please schedule an oral examination. 

Give us a call at 402.327.9400 where our specialists are happy to help you with any of your oral surgery needs.

Did You Know?

Everyone should perform an oral cancer self-exam each month. All you need is a bright light and a mirror.


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