Benign Jaw Pathology
Benign jaw pathology may affect the bone or soft tissues. Many of these pathologies are incidental findings during a dental clinical or radiographic examination. Benign lesions, by definition, do not spread to other regions of the body like cancers do, however some may grow to a size where they cause significant damage to local structures such as teeth, jaw bones or soft tissues of the face.
Some benign jaw pathology can be diagnosed following the taking of a thorough history and conducting a physical examination. Other pathology may require special tests, such as radiographs, CT, MRI or biopsy and examination of a sample of tissue by a Pathologist in order to determine what type of benign jaw pathology is present.
Some benign jaw pathologies have a tendency to recur and if this is the type of problem you have it is likely you will need to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure there has been no recurrence of the problem. This period of surveillance may last many years.
Malignant Jaw Pathology
Malignant jaw pathology may affect the bone or soft tissues. Often patients are unaware of a problem, it has been noticed by their Dentist or Doctor during a clinical or radiographic examination.
Malignant lesions (‘cancers’), by definition, are able to spread to other areas of the body. Unfortunately this has sometimes occurred prior to the primary tumour being detected.
A number of investigations are required if a particular lesion is suspected of being malignant. These may include blood tests, further imaging and the obtaining of tissue for a Pathologist to confirm the type of tumour present.
On occasion a malignant tumour is diagnosed from tissue submitted for a lesion not clinically raising the suspicion of ‘cancer’.
Depending upon the type of malignant tumour, and its spread to other areas of the body, different treatments may be recommended.
Patients diagnosed with a malignant tumour will usually be referred to a multidisciplinary clinic for further assessment by a number of different Specialists prior to definitive treatment recommendations being made.