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 pathological 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 and/or 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.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly. Remember that your mouth is one of your body’s most important warning systems. Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. Please contact us so we can assist you with any questions or concerns.
Multiple types of tumors, both benign and malignant, can appear in the mouth and jaw.
Tumors and cysts in the jaw often do not have symptoms. They are usually discovered during a routine X-ray. In some cases, however, swelling, bone pain, numbness, tenderness, and unexplained tooth mobility can be symptoms. Benign tumors and cysts can cause damage to surrounding bone and tissue.
Typically, benign tumors and cysts of the jaw will need to be surgically removed, and in some cases, bone reconstruction of the area may be necessary.
Treatment of malignant tumors is dependent on the location and type of the tumor. Often times, treatment can be successful with either surgery, chemotherapy, or a combination of the two.