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Nathan T Cary, DDS

Phillip G Cary, DDS


500 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY 14424,  585.394.3322

Oral Lesions

The inside of the mouth is lined with a special type of skin-like soft tissue known as oral mucosa. This type of tissue lines the cheeks, throat, floor of the mouth, under surface of the tongue, and covers the bone of the jaws adjacent teeth. The oral mucosa is normally smooth and coral pink in color. The upper surface of the tongue is the one exception, which is typically also pink but has a textured surface due to the presence of projections of the mucosa known as papillae. Taste buds are a type of papilla. Sometimes the color of the mucosa is a variable on the basis of racial origin.

Any alteration of the normal appearance of the oral mucosa could be a warning sign of an abnormal (pathologic) process. While the vast majority of oral lesions are benign (non-cancerous), the distinction between benign abnormalities and cancerous or pre-cancerous abnormalities can be difficult to discern (see oral cancer page). You may be referred by your general dentist or by your physician for evaluation.

Lesions requiring further evaluation include:
          A.  Red or white patches of the oral mucosa
          B.  Lumps or bumps
          C.  Sores that are not directly caused by known trauma to an area
          D.  Sores that fail to heal even when trauma is a suspected cause
          E.  Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
          F.  Difficulty in swallowing or chewing


Both Dr Phillip Cary and Dr Nathan Cary are both highly trained surgical specialists who routinely evaluate and manage oral lesions. Clinical evaluation is sometimes all that is required to properly diagnose an abnormality. Biopsy (removal of a small sample of the abnormal tissue for evaluation under a microscope) may be needed.

You should make a habit of routinely looking at the inside of your mouth for abnormalities. Early detection and treatment remain the best defense against abnormalities that can adversely affect your dental and/or general health.

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