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, so if you or your dentist notice any changes in your oral pathology, it might be time to contact a periodontist.
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.
We would recommend performing an oral cancer self-examination monthly and 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 may help.