The oral and maxillofacial region consists of hard and soft tissues that have many different and important functions. Oral pathology refers to the wide range of diseases and conditions manifesting themselves and affecting this area of the body. The signs and symptoms of these problems might be localized and have minor implications for an individual’s overall health, or may be a sign of larger systemic (throughout the body) medical conditions. However, suspicious lesions in the mouth and maxillofacial region can also be cancerous and can lead to far more serious consequences if not detected and treated promptly.
If tissue abnormalities or lesions are present in the oral and maxillofacial area it must be determined if they are the result of congenital or genetic conditions, infection, trauma, environmental causes, have developed for another medical reason or are idiopathic (without a known cause). A patient’s medical history, including lifestyle and habits in conjunction with a description of any signs and symptoms that a patient is experiencing can provide helpful information towards a diagnosis. Following a clinical exam, a biopsy as well as further diagnostic testing, is performed as needed to identify the source of the pathology.
If an individual on their own notices any suspicious growths, ulcerations, or unusual bumps anywhere in their mouth or in the head and neck region, it is important that they have them promptly evaluated.