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. 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, 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 you.
If you feel that you or someone you know has any of the symptoms that have been discussed, or if you have any questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your primary care physician or dentist. Once it has been determined that you are in need of the specialized care of an oral surgeon, Southeast Oral Surgery will be glad to assist you with clinical observation and any necessary treatment.