Oral pathology involves diagnosing and treating diseases of the mouth such as cysts, tumors, and precancerous and cancerous lesions. Many patients experience unusual changes in the mouth, bone, gums, tongue, or throat that may or may not be caused by disease. Diagnosing diseases in the mouth as early as possible is very important. The earlier a disease is diagnosed, the faster treatment and healing can begin.
What can I expect during the exam?
Benign conditions of the oral cavity can often mimic precancerous or cancerous lesions. Oral cancer screenings should be performed at least once per year, and more often if you are at an elevated risk of developing oral cancer. Dr. Peavy may perform a number of tests or exams to determine the cause of any symptoms that you are experiencing and to diagnose the disease. Typically, a visual screening is first conducted to identify any abnormal areas. Intraoral pictures are often taken to help document the appearance of the lesion on that specific date. A biopsy or tissue removal is usually the best way to determine a diagnosis, as the sample is sent to a pathology laboratory for analysis.
Genetic Testing for Oral Cancer
HPV testing: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common virus groups in the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 20 million people in the United States are infected with HPV and there are approximately 6 million new cases each year.
Oral HPV is a manifestation of the HPV virus in the mouth, and is primarily found in the oropharyngeal complex. Specific types of oral HPV are now considered to be separate and serious risk factor for developing oral cancers. Early detection and identification of the presence or absence of oral HPV is important, as early oral HPV infections do not typically cause any clinical signs or symptoms.
The OraRisk® HPV test is a non-invasive, easy-to-use screening tool to identify the type(s) of oral HPV, a mucosal viral infection that could potentially lead to oral cancer. OraRisk® HPV enables the clinician to establish increased risk for oral cancer and determine appropriate referral and monitoring conditions.
Genetic Screening Tests for Gum Disease
Thirty percent (30%) of the population is more susceptible to the severe forms of periodontal disease because they amplify inflammation! Now, there is a simple test to determine if you are in this group. Knowing that you are genotype positive will help us understand more about your case, help determine therapy approaches and better predict outcomes. Patients who are PST positive lose teeth three (3) times faster than a PST negative individual. PST positive patients that smoke have a tooth loss rate that is eight times faster than a nonsmoking PST negative patient.
The MyPerioPath® salivary diagnostic test identifies the type and concentration of specific perio-pathogenic bacteria that are known to cause periodontal disease. MyPerioPath® helps determine which bacteria are contributing to your infection and thus use the most appropriate antibiotics when necessary.
How will I be treated?
Treatments vary depending on the type of disease that is present. The specific needs of each patient will be addressed on a case by case basis in order to achieve the best results. Some treatments involve the excision of a lesion, while others may require involvement of other specialists, such as an oral surgeon or ear, nose and throat practitioner. Our office is dedicated to making any procedure performed as comfortable as possible.
Self-Oral Cancer Exams
It is a good idea to become familiar with the structures in your mouth so that you may be able to identify any areas that do not seem normal. Conducting periodic self-oral cancer screenings between dental exams can potentially help to diagnose areas of concern in the early stages of growth. Many forms of oral cancer are successfully treated when detected and diagnosed early.