The term “pathology” can be defined generally to mean the scientific study of the nature of disease. However, it is often used to refer specifically to the branch of medicine dealing with the examination of samples of body tissue for diagnostic purposes. Oral pathology involves examining tissue samples from the oral, head, and neck regions in order to diagnose diseases/abnormalities in the oral cavity.
Within the oral cavity, there are many different types of tissues (mucosa, muscle, bone, nerve, gland) that could potentially develop abnormalities. Many times these tissue abnormalities/growths/lesions are noticed first by a general dentist. When a patient is referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, the tissue abnormality/growth/lesion is clinically evaluated and may require a surgical procedure to remove a sample of tissue to be sent to a laboratory for further testing. Regular oral examinations are recommended to evaluate for any abnormalities.