Oral pathology is a sub-specialty of oral medicine that studies the conditions that affect the mouth and face; this includes their causes, processes, development, identification, prevention/management strategies, prognosis, and treatment. Some of the most standard types of oral diseases are herpes simplex virus (HSV), thrush, periodontal disease, and oral cancers.

At Clark Oral & Facial Surgery in Idaho, we focus on determining not only the presence of these conditions but the source. From there, it becomes possible to treat the problem while applying strategies and therapies that prevent reoccurrence. 

To learn more about oral pathology, please read below. If you have any questions, simply give our office a call!

The Importance Of Pathology

The human mouth is home to billions of microbes. Most of these are either harmless or actually beneficial, but some can cause disease or increase the risk of infection by other dangerous microorganisms. Oral pathogens (disease-causing organisms) can enter the body through many different routes; some like herpes simplex virus are shed from the oral cavity throughout life and others can be transmitted orally via saliva or through other bodily fluids.

Just as preventative care is important in dentistry for diagnosing and treating various ailments, visiting our team is important to prevent the worsening of many oral diseases and conditions. 

Catching Oral Cancer Early

One of the most dangerous conditions we diagnose and treat would be oral cancer – a deadly condition that can be extremely difficult to detect on your own. In fact, a person may have oral cancer without any symptoms at all. This makes it difficult to detect in its early stages when it is most curable. Some common symptoms of oral cancer include the following:

  • Localized pain or numbness
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Unusual swelling, lumps, bumps, or open sores inside the mouth
  • A change in the structure of the face, such as an indentation in the cheek

The American Cancer Society states that early oral cancer usually has no clear symptoms. Often it is advanced by the time it is diagnosed, which makes treatment more difficult and less successful. While people who smoke or use chewing tobacco are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, the higher risk may also come from patients with a family history of oral cancer. 

It is important to visit a pathologist upon a dentist’s recommendation if anything abnormal is noticed; this secures the best chance for a full recovery.

Another important aspect of oral pathology is its relevance to public health and the risk of transmitting many conditions. Many diseases of the mouth have an infectious component, and often these diseases can be spread from person to person (for example, cold sores or herpes). 

In such cases, recognition of the condition and effective treatment can reduce not only the discomfort caused by an infection but also its potential for transmission

A Team That’s Looking Out For You!

The field of oral pathology is a specialty not often mentioned, but it makes a substantial contribution to the medical and dental professions. By being capable of detecting and diagnosing the presence of many of these diseases in the earliest stages, we are able to bring a greater possibility of treatment and management to our patients. Through pathology, we are hoping to improve the health of our patients and bring them happier smiles, stronger bones and tissues, and better lives as a result!

To learn more about the practice and application of pathology in dentistry, contact our office today!

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