Oral Pathology

Warning Signs

When healthy, the inside of your mouth should be lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. If you notice any of the following on your lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around teeth, tongue, face, or neck, it could be a sign to make an appointment with your oral surgeon as soon as possible:

  • Reddish patches or whitish patches of skin in the mouth
  • A sore that never heals 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
  • A mass or lump in the neck

Pain is not always associated with oral cancer. However, if you’re experiencing pain for no reason, you may be at risk. Do not ignore your body’s cues that something is amiss.

Benefits Of Oral Pathology

  • Could detect serious disease (such as cancer) early on
  • If caught and treated early, could prevent serious disease (such as cancer)


Self-exams should be performed monthly. You will be looking for any of the “Warning Signs” mentioned above. Grab a bright light and a mirror and do the following:

  • Remove any dentures
  • Look and feel inside your lips and the front of your gums
  • Tilt your head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  • Pull your cheeks out (one side at a time) to see inside the surface as well as the back of the gums
  • Pull out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces
  • Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in both sides of your neck including under the lower jaw