Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology is the specialty of dentistry and the discipline of pathology that addresses the nature, identification, and management of the diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions.
There are many diseases in the mouth and jaws that are unique in that many of the processes arise from abnormalities in tooth formation or from dental origins.
Dr. Schultz performs biopsies of the maxillofacial region routinely and works with specialists in pathology to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of the disease process.
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 at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) 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 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 for oral cancer.
Your Dentist and Dental Hygienist see you regularly and perform routine oral screening for oral pathology. They will refer you to Dr. Schultz for a consultation when it is appropriate.