Oral Pathology

Lichen Planus - Lichen Planus can occur in the mouth, with symptoms ranging from painless white patches to sore gums and painful ulcers that make eating and drinking difficult.  When lichen planus appears on mucosa membranes, such as the mouth, it usually has a white, lacy appearance.  Although rare, ulcerative lichen planus in the mouth can increase the risk of mouth cancers.

Oral Cancer - The inside of the mouth is 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 of abnormal tissue and should be evaluated promptly:

  • Reddish patches (erythroplakia) 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 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.