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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, and 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.
Minor salivary glands in the lips and floor of the mouth can swell if minor trauma causes an interruption in drainage. In some cases the salivary fluid pools under the tissue and causes a cystic pathology. Treatment requires a minor surgery in the office to remove the cyst and the hypertrophied (swollen) glands.
Cysts and Tumors
There are many cyst and tumor pathologies that can occur in the facial bones. Though some are developmental in origin many of them occur secondary to changes around developing or impacted teeth. The cysts and tumors can cause significant bone destruction in the jaws, move or destroy adjacent teeth, and put you at risk for jaw fractures. Dr. Boerman has significant experience treating cysts and tumors of the jaws and recommends that you have a panorex radiograph taken by your dentist once every five years to screen for these pathologies. Early detection allows for better outcomes and less invasive surgeries.