There are several pathologic processes that can be associated with the soft tissue, teeth, and bones of the mouth. Thankfully, many of these processes are benign. If your or your dentist notice changes to the soft tissue in your mouth or something abnormal on x-ray, evaluation for a biopsy should be considered. If biopsy is performed your oral surgeon may remove the entire lesion or just a portion depending on size and location. The results of your biopsy will determine what further treatment is indicated, if any. Malignant processes such as squamous cell carcinoma can also appear in the oral cavity. Biopsy of any suspicious lesion should be completed in a timely manner so that a definitive treatment plan can be rapidly developed. When a diagnosis comes back positive for malignancy, a referral to a head and neck cancer surgeon will likely be made.
Depending on the location and size of your lesion, your procedure may be completed with local anesthesia or sedation. There are many factors that contribute to this decision and the type of anesthesia is determined on a case by case basis. Your surgery may involve complete removal of your lesion or taking a small sample of the lesion to send to a pathologist for a diagnosis. After a diagnosis is made, a final treatment plan is formulated.
The treatment for pathology varies greatly based on diagnosis and so does the recovery process. You will be given post-operative instructions on the day of your appointment and a general idea of what to expect can be determined at your consultation.