Michael L. Bleeker, DMD
An oral exam is routinely performed by Dr. Bleeker during the course of an initial comprehensive exam and regular check-ups.
The soft tissue of the mouth is lined with mucosa. Any alteration of the color or texture of the mucosa may signal the beginning of a pathologic process. These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth. The most serious of these pathologic changes is oral cancer, but there are also many other common pathologic problems of a less serious nature.
Geographic Tongue – Also known as Benign Migratory Glossitis or Erythema Migrans, is a condition where the tongue is missing papillae in different areas, and a map-like appearance can develop. This condition is usually seen as red well defined areas on or around the sides of the tongue. The red patches may come and go from hours to months at a time and cause increased sensitivity to certain substances.
Median Palatal Cyst – This cyst is of developmental origin and is essentially a fluid filled skin sac. It usually appears in the middle of the palate and may cause substantial discomfort.
Hairy Tongue – An overgrowth of bacteria or a yeast infection in the mouth which can cause the tongue to appear hairy and black. This condition is usually a result of poor oral hygiene, chronic or extensive use of antibiotics, or radiation treatments to the head or neck. Hairy Tongue may or may not require treatment.
Treatment of Pathological Diseases
In the majority of cases, the pathological changes experienced in the oral region are uncomfortable and disfiguring, but not life threatening.
Oral cancer is a general term used when referring to any type of cancer affecting the tongue, jaw, and lower cheek area. If a pathologic change is noticed a biopsy of the affected area may be indicated. Following through with recommended treatment when changes are first noticed is suggested to minimize spread of the disease.
During the course of a regular check up, Dr. Bleeker will thoroughly inspect the soft tissue of the mouth and take serious note of any changes. If there are changes present Dr. Bleeker will suggest a recommended treatment and referral.
Oral Cancer Screenings
An oral cancer screening is usually performed during a comprehensive or recall exam. Screening is painless and only takes a few minutes. If you are experiencing any pain or symptoms that cause you concern, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.