Oral pathology, also known as oral and maxillofacial pathology is the study of diseases of the mouth, jaw, temporomandibular joints, salivary glands, facial muscle, and the skin around the mouth. At Oral and Facial Surgery Center, we diagnose oral diseases and recommend the best treatment plan for you.
Oral Diseases and Conditions
If a person has a suspicious growth or an uncomfortable feeling in their mouth, it is necessary to diagnose the cause of it. Symptoms like sores and lesions can hint towards more serious problems in the long run. Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Ardoin can determine if the condition afflicting your mouth is benign or malevolent.
Here is a list of some of the most common types of conditions and diseases of the mouth:
Plaque-induced gingivitis and periodontitis are the most prevalent diseases of the mouth. Periodontal diseases affect the gums, teeth, and the surrounding tissue. Bacteria develop a sticky substance called plaque, which is not removed by normal brushing or flossing and hardens into calculus. Symptoms of gingivitis include inflammation of the gum tissues, which become red, swollen, and irritated. If left untreated, the disease progresses into advanced periodontitis, which is characterized by receding gums and formation of gum pockets that accumulate bacteria and pus. Connective tissue and bone structure break down, and your tooth/teeth will eventually weaken and may eventually even be lost.
Scarlet fever is a highly contagious bacterial infection which results in severe sore throat in children. It first affects the tonsils and pharynx before progressing to the tongue and palate. The disease is marked by a red rash on the face, which spreads to most of the body. If left untreated, this disease can result in a furred, raw, and inflamed tongue. Penicillin is advised for treatment with excellent results.
Herpes simplex is a very common viral infection of the lips and mouth. This is characterized by sores and blisters around the mouth and lips, which can last from three to 10 days and are very infectious. Some people have recurrent sores in the same area or nearby. Although the exact cause of herpes simplex is not understood, it can be brought upon by stress, hormonal imbalances, over-exposure to the sun, trauma, or a severely impaired immune system.
Mumps of the Salivary Gland
This viral disease involves the painful swelling of the parotid glands that are situated just in front of each ear. This can lead to painful chewing and sore throat. This infection is quite contagious but, fortunately, it can be prevented by vaccination. There is no exact treatment except for painkillers and hydration, with complete recovery in 5 to 10 days. In severe cases, mumps can cause inflammation of the pancreas, brain, testicles, and hearing loss.
Oral candidiasis or yeast infection is the most common fungal infection of the mouth, which occurs in people with compromised immune systems. These include people undergoing cancer therapy, those with autoimmune diseases like HIV and those who are undergoing an organ transplant. Symptoms of the disease include white "cheesy" patches that may feel irritated, sore, or inflamed. This can be treated with several kinds of antifungal drugs.
Oral cancer often comes undetected in the mouth in the form of a tiny white or red spot, sore or patch. Some symptoms also include:
Oral exams may be successful in detecting oral cancer in its early stages. A biopsy can then be done to screen for cancer or other issues.
Salivary Gland Tumors
Salivary gland tumors occur in the salivary glands present in the mouth and throat. In rare cases, a salivary gland tumor may occur, which can be benign or malignant. Symptoms include pain, numbness, presence of a lump, or fluid coming out from the ear. This tumor can be surgically removed.
Although this is by no means an exhaustive list of oral pathogens that affect the mouth, these conditions are some of the most common diseases that people are afflicted with. If you suspect you suffer from any of these conditions, schedule an appointment with us by calling us at 337-443-2533 for our Lafayette location or 337-381-3663 for our Opelousas location immediately.