Pathology

Pathology is simply the science that deals with the nature, cause, and development of disease.

Dr. Fross is highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of pathology or diseases of the oral cavity and the maxillofacial region. The most common conditions and diseases involve the teeth and associated structures. They may range from infections and traumatic lesions, to benign and malignant tumors. Frequently, systemic diseases have oral signs and symptoms and in some cases the disease manifests itself first in the oral cavity.

The mouth, or oral cavity, is lined by mucosa that is smooth and pink in color. Any change in the lining or mucosa such as a growth, ulceration or development of a white or red patch may be a sign to an underlying disease process. Many times these lesions are treated with medications in the same way we would treat an affected region of our skin.

The lining of the oral cavity is commonly affected by minor trauma and by viruses causing lesions to appear that are generally transient in nature and typically resolve spontaneously. A growth or abnormality of the oral cavity that does not respond to medication or resolve in ten to fourteen days should be further evaluated.

A lesion or growth that is present for more than ten to fourteen days is generally biopsied. A biopsy is a surgical procedure in which a section or the entire growth is removed depending on the size, location and nature of the growth. Growths in the oral cavity are typically benign in nature. A malignant lesion, or oral cancer is rare in the general population, however, due to the innocuous appearance of some oral cancer all suspicious lesions should be biopsied.

Most biopsies are performed in the office using only a local anesthetic. For those patients who prefer, a light sedation or general anesthesia can be administered.  Following removal of the lesion the specimen or biopsy is sent to an oral pathologist for a final diagnosis. The diagnosis would dictate the need for possible further treatment.