Oral Lesions & Growths

It’s easy to take a healthy mouth for granted, so until something goes wrong, you might not appreciate its function on a day-to-day basis. But if disease develops, you will quickly see how simple, everyday actions like speaking and eating are affected.

The oral cavity is a complex structure that includes jaw bone, gum tissue, tongue and facial muscles, fat, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. As such, they require the attention of a skilled oral surgeon like Dr. Suzin Um, who is highly qualified to diagnose and treat these problems.

Certain oral diseases are related to physical conditions present in the body; fungal infections, for example, are common with diabetes. If you experience dry mouth, it could indicate salivary gland disease. For this reason, diagnosis and treatment are best handled by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon like Dr. Um.

What Are Some Symptoms of Oral Diseases?

During your routine checkups, your dentist may identify a symptom like a growth or a lump that indicates disease may be present. In this case, they will recommend an exam by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

A few indications of oral disease are:

  • Oral pain
  • Gum bleeding
  • Tongue, oral and mouth ulcers
  • Swelling
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness in the tongue, lip, chin, or cheek
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing

What Diseases Do Oral Surgeons Treat?

Dr. Suzin Um is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and an expert in diagnosing and treating lesions in the mouth and jaw. She will diagnose your condition by taking a biopsy of the affected area. The tissue sample is then sent to a pathologist who looks at the sample with a microscope.

The treatment Dr. Um recommends will depend upon the type of disease you have. Some of the more common conditions we treat are:

  • Jaw cysts and tumors
  • Salivary gland disease
  • Lumps or bumps in the cheek
  • Tongue lesions including oral cancer

Detecting these diseases early in their development allows Dr. Um to perform more conservative surgical procedures with more options for reconstruction.

Diagnosing and Treating Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious disease that can be life-threatening. Approximately 50,000 people in the US are diagnosed with oral cancer every year.

Different types of oral cancers start in the mouth while others travel from another site in the body (metastasis). Common cancers that travel to the mouth are lung cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

The risk of developing oral cancer increases with age, and risk factors include tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, human papillomavirus (HPV), or a weakened immune system. However, many of those diagnosed with oral cancer have none of these risk factors, making routine oral cancer screenings with your dentist vitally important.

Scheduling Your Appointment

If your dentist has identified an oral lesion or growth and referred you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, please call Lake Forest Oral Surgery to schedule an appointment with Dr. Um.