Oral Pathology

Since the oral cavity is full of living tissue, it is susceptible to abnormal growths that can be either benign, or less commonly, malignant (cancerous). During routine dental checkups, general dentists look for signs of abnormal lesions that may indicate a serious condition. Oral pathology patients who come see Dr. Jackson are typically referred by their general dentist concerned about a suspicious-looking lesion.


(504) 455-7161

Oral Pathology

Since the oral cavity is full of living tissue, it is susceptible to abnormal growths that can be either benign, or less commonly, malignant (cancerous). During routine dental checkups, general dentists look for signs of abnormal lesions that may indicate a serious condition. Oral pathology patients who come see Dr. Jackson are typically referred by their general dentist concerned about a suspicious-looking lesion.


(504) 455-7161

Steps in Identifying an Oral Lesion

If a general dentist detects an abnormal growth in a patient’s mouth or face, he or she will usually refer the patient to an oral surgeon. As an oral surgeon, Dr. Jackson has advanced knowledge of the intricate anatomy of the mouth, face and surrounding structures. A combination of clinical and radiograpich diagnostics are used, often including three-dimensional x-rays to determine if the growth has affected bone and other tissues. After a detailed examination, including taking intraoral photos of the lesion, Dr. Jackson surgically removes all or part of the lesion, and then submits the specimen to the LSU Oral Pathology Department for microscopic examination (biopsy). Normally, results of the biopsy are available within 2 weeks, at which point Dr. Jackson sees the patient for a follow-up evaluation and reviews the pathology results with the patient to determine whether any additional treatment is necessary.

Depending on the size and location of the lesion, Dr. Jackson may employ various sedation techniques during the biopsy procedure for maximal patient comfort.

Oral Cancer Causes and Treatment

Oral cancer can develop in any patient, but those who smoke, drink alcohol and have a family history of oral cancer have a higher risk. Other risk factors include excessive exposure to the sun and contraction of the HPV virus.

The treatment for oral cancer varies depending on where it forms and it’s stage. Without early detection, some oral cancers can spread to other organs and tissues outside the oral cavity. Treating oral cancer can involve the surgical removal of the entire growth and surrounding tissue as well as corrective procedures to repair loss of tissue. Advanced cancers that have metastasized might require radiation, chemotherapy, additional surgeries and other forms of treatment. As with any other chronic disease, early detection and professional intervention is important for a favorable prognosis.

Facts about Oral Cancer

Studies show that roughly 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men are affected roughly twice as often as women. The average age of diagnosis is 62 years old, but it can affect people much younger. Oral cancer can develop in any patient, but those who smoke, drink alcohol or have a family history of oral cancer have a higher risk. Other risk factors for oral cancer include excessive exposure to the sun and contraction of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

The Expertise of an Oral Surgeon

When it comes to detecting and diagnosing benign and cancerous oral lesions, the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is advantageous to patients. In addition to earning a doctorate in dentistry, Dr. Jackson earned a medical degree and has received rigorous surgical residency training so that he has developed familiarity with the complex anatomy of the oral and facial structures. This educational background is absolutely essential for diagnosing and treating patients’ oral pathology.

If you have been referred to Jackson Oral Surgery for a possible biopsy, we invite you to call our office to make an appointment for a consultation with our experienced and dedicated board-certified oral surgeon, Dr. Jackson.