Oral/Head and Neck Pathology
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to perform biopsies of both benign and malignant lesions in the maxillofacial region, and are experts in the clinical and microscopic diagnosis of disorders involving the mouth and jaws. Oral lesions include benign tumors and cancers, growths of tooth origin and those that arise in the salivary glands, infections (both local and systemic) and manifestations of systemic disorders. Oral cancer is no longer a disease experienced by the middle aged patients with histories of smoking and alcohol consumption. Today oral and maxillofacial surgeons are seeing a growing number of oral cancer patients in their 20s and 30s. A growing use of smokeless tobacco and a rise in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) cases are considered responsible for this situation. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons stress that early detection and treatment of oral lesions greatly improve the patient's prognosis. Lesions may be managed medically and/or surgically.