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 following may be signs of a pathologic process:
- Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the mucosal lining inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- Unexplained changes in your bite, shifting of teeth or numbness
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.
Some pathologic conditions are located in the jaw bone and can be seen on dental x-rays.
Initial treatment for these conditions listed above may be a biopsy or removal of all or a portion of the lesion. The biopsy specimen is then sent to a pathologist for microscopic evaluation and diagnosis. Further treatment may or may not be necessary depending upon the diagnosis.