Oral Pathology is the study of all diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial region. These diseases can be benign, malignant, or precancerous lesions.

We are proud to offer oral pathology services at Virginia Oral Surgery Specialists. We utilize the latest procedures and technology to diagnose and treat all diseases of the mouth and throat. The VOSS team is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality care possible.

The Role of Oral Pathologists

It is essential to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular visits with your dentist; however, this sometimes isn’t enough. So, when a suspicious growth or lesion is found in the mouth, the dentist may refer the patient to an oral surgeon or pathologist for further testing.

Oral pathologists deal with oral conditions and dental problems such as:

  • Oral thrush
  • Oral cancer
  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • Benign tumors of the mouth
  • Cysts of the jaws
  • Yeast infection of the mouth
  • Salivary gland disorders
  • Infectious diseases of the mouth

Oral Examinations

An oral examination and oral cancer screening is the first step in diagnosis and the best defense against dental conditions like cancer. The doctor will first look for obvious signs of disease like swellings, lumps, ulcers, red or white patches, and bleeding. They will also feel the soft tissues of the mouth and neck for any lumps or masses.

The doctor may need a small mirror or lighted instrument to look at hard-to-see areas. They may also order x-rays or a biopsy in some cases.

3D Cone Beam CT Scan

At VOSS, We use a 3D CBCT Scan for our oral examinations. This uses low-dose radiation to create a three-dimensional image of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bone. We can develop a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for our patients with this information.

If suspicious lesions or growths might be cancerous, a biopsy sample will be taken of the soft tissue.


If the doctor suspects a growth or lesion may be cancerous, a biopsy will be required. A biopsy is when a small tissue sample is taken from a suspicious area and examined under a microscope.

There are several types of biopsies, including:

  • Excisional biopsy: The entire growth or lesion is removed.
  • Incisional biopsy: Only a tiny part of the growth or lesion is removed.
  • Punch biopsy: A small, circular piece of tissue is removed.
  • Shave biopsy: A thin layer of the growth or lesion is removed.

Your oral surgeon will determine which type of biopsy is the most appropriate for you. Once the biopsy is complete, the pathologist will determine if the lesion is benign or malignant.

Oral Cancer Screenings

All patients are recommended to have an oral cancer exam at least once a year, even if they have no symptoms. This is vital for patients who are at higher risk and present several factors, including:

  • Are over the age of 40
  • Have a history of smoking or heavy alcohol use
  • Have a family history of oral cancer
  • Have a history of oral HPV infections
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Take certain medications

According to the American Dental Association, more than 51,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Therefore, diagnosis of oral diseases such as oral cancers in the early stages is vital for effective treatment and recovery.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

The signs and symptoms can vary, and they may not be noticeable in the early stages of the disease. Some common signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • A sore or irritation that does not go away
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, please contact our office immediately for an appointment.

Oral Pathology in Vienna, VA

At Virginia Oral Surgery Specialists, our team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons is experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases affecting the mouth and jaws. We offer a full range of oral pathology services, from biopsies to pre-cancer surgery. Your oral health is our top priority. If you are looking for an oral exam in Vienna, VA, contact us today!

Book Appointment

The first step towards getting the beautiful, healthy smile you’ve always wanted is to schedule an appointment with our office. You can contact us by phone or submit the appointment request form online and our office staff will contact you to confirm your appointment.