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, chronic sore throat or hoarseness or difficulty in chewing or swallowing. Please contact us so we may help.
Our surgeons have continued to provide complex care to patients with oral or head and neck cancer. We follow strict protocols for the adjunctive care of our patients who have undergone radiation therapy as well as providing comprehensive reconstruction and rehabilitation to patients with tumors of the head and neck region. Typically, following removal of the tumor, radiation and chemotherapy, our surgeons will be involved in the rehabilitation of the mouth through extensive bone grafts, sinus lifts, PRP and dental implants. These complicated cases involve not only the oral and maxillofacial surgeon, but also involve other specialties including ear, nose and throat, oncology, pulmonology, cardiology, internal medicine and hyperbaric medicine.