Oral, Head and Neck Pathology

Your oral health affects more than just your mouth.

Did you know?

Oral cancer’s mortality is particularly high because it is often discovered in a late stage. It is not hard to detect or diagnose, but many patients neglect proper oral health check-ups where it can be found. Your family dentist or oral surgeon is in the best position to detect oral cancer during your routine dental examinations.

How can you catch oral cancer early?

Just like with many cancers, you can help detect it early by performing a monthly self-exam. This examination should be performed with a bright light and a mirror:

  1. Remove dentures
  2. Look and feel inside the lips and the front of the gums
  3. Tilt your head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  4. Pull the cheek out to see its inside surface and the back of the gums
  5. Pull out your tongue and look over its surface
  6. Feel your neck for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (don’t forget to check under the lower jaw).

When performing the examination (and throughout the month), you should be looking for the following:

  • White patches of the oral tissues (leukoplakia)
  • Red patches (erythroplakia)
  • Red and white patches (erythroleukoplakia)
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • An abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • A mass or lump in the neck

What if I’m unsure about my findings?

Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. Don’t ignore abnormalities you see during your examination or throughout daily life. These abnormalities may include but are not limited to suspicious lumps, persistent sores, unusual discoloration of the mouth tissue, or ongoing sore throats and hoarseness. You know your body best, so when something seems unusual it is always best to schedule an appointment for an examination.

 What does the examination entail?

If you find something abnormal during your monthly examination or begin experiencing unusual symptoms, schedule an appointment with one of our surgeons at Tennessee Valley Oral Surgery. We will do a thorough examination which may include pathology for sores, lumps, or unusual mouth tissue.

Schedule your consultation today!

Early treatment may be the key to complete recovery, so don’t wait. Call us today.