Maxillofacial Pathology

Maxillofacial Pathology

Treating Head, Neck and Oral Cancers and Jaw Disease

Each of our oral and maxillofacial surgeons is experienced in maxillofacial pathology which examines, diagnoses, and treats cysts, tumors (benign and malignant), and other diseases of the jaw, head, and neck.

Maxillofacial diseases can be caused by a variety of conditions including hereditary issues such as vascular malformations, to conditions such as oral, throat, and mouth cancer. Approximately 50,000 people are diagnosed each year in the United States with oral, head, and neck cancers.

Oral Cancer and Disease Risks

Oral and pharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and upper throat) can be devastating. These types of cancer include mouth cancer, tongue and jaw cancer. Oral cancer affects twice as many men than women and claims 9,750 lives annually.

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco and alcohol use (this increases when the substances are used together) and HPV16 infection. Tanning or prolonged sun exposure increases the risk of lip cancer. Other risk factors for oral, head, and neck cancer and disease include chronic physical trauma, poor oral hygiene, infectious diseases, and poor nutrition.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
  • Mouth or lip sores that do not heal.
  • A lump or thickened spot on the lips or gums or inside the mouth.
  • White or red patches on the gums, tonsils, tongue or inside the mouth.
  • Bleeding, pain or numbness inside the mouth.
  • An unexpected change in the voice.
  • Dentures that no longer fit well or loose teeth.
  • Trouble swallowing, chewing or moving the jaw or tongue.
  • Swelling in the jaw.
  • Sore throat or the feeling that something is caught in the throat.
Early Detection is Critical
  • How can you prevent oral cancer? Reduce your risk factors like tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Perform self-examinations regularly so you know when something has changed.
  • Don’t skip annual dental appointments. Dentists check for mouth diseases during regular exams and the earlier head, neck or throat cancer is caught, the greater the chance of a cure.

Don’t wait if you are experiencing any of the signs of an oral disease. Contact your dentist or doctor right away and ask for a referral to our offices. Our team of doctors and staff want to make sure you have the best care as quickly as possible.

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