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Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

Oral and maxillofacial pathology is the area of oral and maxillofacial surgery that deals with diagnosing and treating tumors, lesions, cysts, or other abnormal growths that develop in the soft tissue or the bone of the mouth and face. In general, such growths occur when the body mistakenly starts to overproduce cells. The majority of growths are benign, but in some cases they may be malignant (precancerous or cancerous).

Many oral and maxillofacial pathologies may be seen with the naked eye during routine activities such as brushing your teeth. It is important that you see a dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you notice any changes in texture or appearance in your mouth that do not go away within a couple weeks. Your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon may need to take a biopsy, or a small sample, of the growth in order to determine whether or not it is cancerous.

Treatment

Lesions that are precancerous or cancerous will need to be removed. If caught sufficiently early, treatment of lesions, cysts and tumors consists of excising the pathological region, and a small area of the surrounding tissue just to make sure that all abnormal tissue is gone.

Treatment of benign growths depends on the specific circumstances. In some cases your physician may recommend their removal, either because there is a possibility of their becoming malignant, or because their presence may somehow interfere with normal function or structure in the mouth. In other cases they may be left untreated, although they may need to be monitored for any changes.

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