Oral Medicine and Pathology

Many patients walk around with growths or lesions in their oral cavity that they hope will just disappear. These patients often use a variety of over the counter products to try and unsuccessfully treat these lesions or growths themselves.

Specialists in Oral Medicine and Periodontics are also trained as specialists in the field of oral medicine. Oral medicine is a speciality that bridges the gap between dentistry and medicine.

Oral medicine involves the treatment of patients with a wide variety of conditions affecting the orofacial region, such as:

  • Oral infections (bacterial, viral, fungal)
  • Growths on all aspects of the oral tissues (such as the gums, tongue, lips etc)
  • Recurrent and persistent ulcers in the mouth
  • Lesions associated with dysfunction of the immune system
  • Disorders of the salivary glands
  • Orofacial pain
  • Identifying and diagnosing oral cancer
  • Lesions associated with systemic disease

It is very important that when a patient develops a lesion or growth in their mouth, that they rather see a Specialists in Oral Medicine and Periodontics for evaluation. Many lesions are benign (non-cancerous), however this can only be assessed and diagnosed when properly examined. With most lesions or growths we will proceed to assess the problem with a small biopsy (tissue sample), which is then examined by a pathologist under a microscope. Based on the diagnosis, the correct treatment can then be performed by the Specialists in Oral Medicine and Periodontics.

It is also essential that biopsies are performed (especially on long standing non-healing areas) to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. Unfortunately, many patients wait very long before seeing a specialist for the biopsy, therefore making the prognosis poor and ability to treat the oral cancer more difficult.

Many systemic diseases can also present with lesions or growths in the oral cavity. When properly examined by a specialist, these lesions will be identified and then a systemic disease the patient was unaware of could be diagnosed. We as Specialists in Oral Medicine and Periodontics can also send patients for tests (such as blood tests) to identify the cause of the problem.