The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of tissue called mucosa that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathologic process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Red patches (erythroplakia) or white patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening of the tissue 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, tongue, and gum tissue around the teeth. 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 may still be at risk for oral cancer.
New or abnormal lesions in the mouth are concerning and typically warrant biopsy. Biopsy means removing a portion or all of the suspicious tissue in order to look at it under a microscope and gain a diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, Dr. Weber or Dr. Shepherd will discuss the next steps (if any) and outline further treatment if necessary.
Do not ignore suspicious lumps or sores. If you have any areas in your mouth or face which concern you, please contact us so that we may help.