Oral Pathology

The mouth is 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 which 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 and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and 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.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery is necessary when the upper and lower jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with jaws. Teeth are first straightened with orthodontics, then corrective jaw surgery repositions misaligned jaws. This not only improves ones facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.

Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?

People with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly can benefit from this surgery. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The resulting problems can affect chewing, function, speech, long-term dental health and ones overall appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. However, orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning is necessary.

The following areas of concern may necessitate an evaluation:

  • difficulty in chewing, biting or swallowing
  • speech problems
  • chronic jaw or TMJ pain
  • open bite or teeth that do not meet properly
  • protruding jaw
  • breathing problems

Any of these symptoms can exist at birth, be acquired after birth as a result of hereditary or environmental influences or as a result of trauma to the face. Before any treatment begins, a consultation will be include a complete examination with x-rays. Feel free to ask any questions that you have regarding your treatment at any time. When you are fully informed about the aspects of your care, you and your dental team will make the decision to proceed with treatment together.