Oral Pathology

The oral cavity, like all other parts of the body, is usually healthy and functional. However, just like the rest of the body, things can go wrong, and disease processes occur. We find just about all of the normal cells in the oral cavity that we do in other parts of the body– and then some. Only in the mouth do we find teeth. Cells in our bodies can go afoul and cause problems.

Teeth can be the source of major infection in the jaws and head and neck when not taken care of. Dental decay can lead to major infections, and some infections can mean hospitalizations! Infections, whether from dental decay or from erupting wisdom teeth are managed every day in our practice. Infection is pathology, and it can lead to pain and swelling.

The jaws can also have all kinds of other pathological processes occur that need to be managed– from growths of soft tissue to large cysts that can cause swelling, infections and even fractures of the jaws. When the soft tissues in the oral cavity show signs of change that can be of concern, you dentist or physician might send you to our office to have a biopsy done. A biopsy is simply removing a small piece of an abnormal looking tissue to have it looked at under the microscope. Sometimes, if the area is not too big, the entire changed zone can be removed. This is an EXcisional biopsy. That removed tissue will then be sent to a qualified- usually Board- Certified pathologist. Specialists who work only in the oral cavity, and are dentally trained before their pathology residency are Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists. We work with them most of the time.

Oral Cancer is still of major concern. It is mostly seen in people who are long time users of tobacco products and have a high alcohol consumption. But not always. If oral cancer is caught in the early stages it is highly treatable. Oral tissues that are chronically red and ulcerated- are very slow to heal or do not heal – or are white ( with no reason seen for a change ) should be biopsied. Dr. Buche is very experienced in the management of all kinds of oral pathology conditions and infection. If you have concern about a potential pathological condition it is best to have it looked at. If a biopsy is felt to be needed that will be suggested.