Oral Pathology

Managing Abnormalities in the mouth

Various diseases can manifest in the mouth in the form of lumps, white or red patches, or ulcers.

These can range from benign ulcers due to rubbing of the gum tissue from a toothbrush or food, through to manifestations of carious viral or bacterial diseases, to tumours and cancer of the mouth and jaw. During your check ups, your dentists will be assessing the tissues of your mouth for any abnormalities.

Our oral pathologist, Ryan Cornish (link) is qualified to do any biopsies or further investigations of any areas that Tharaka, Renee or Jasper flag as requiring investigation. At Shepherds Hill Dental Centre, we focus on all diseases of the mouth and jaw and are equipped to investigate them all.

Oral Pathology


More information from the ADA

Oral cancer is a potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. It is an aggressive disease with a survival rate of only 50% over 5 years. This is due to multiple factors.

  • It can often go undetected until the cancer is advanced.
  • It often does not cause the patient to experience any symptoms until advanced.
  • It is caused by a variety of lifestyle risks, many of which are a part of the everyday lives of many Australians.

Depending on the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis, treatment may require surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.

Warning signs

Oral cancer includes a range of cancers that affect any part of the oral cavity. This can include the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, gums, back of the throat or salivary glands. It occurs most commonly on the sides of the tongue and the floor of the mouth. The appearance of oral cancer varies greatly and can appear similar to other conditions that effect the mouth. In early stages, oral cancers will have often have no symptoms. Pain is more common in advanced cases.

Signs may include:

  • A sore, irritation, lump or change in the thickness of soft tissues.
  • An ulcer that is present for longer than 2 weeks or continues to return over and over again.
  • Blood blister in the mouth that does not heal or repeatedly comes back.
  • A white or red patch in the mouth.
  • A continued feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue around.
  • Glands/lymph nodes under the jaw that are swollen and do not go away.
  • A sore throat that does not go away.
  • Difficulty speaking, or a change in voice.
  • The tongue or other areas of the mouth feel numb.
  • Swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to stop fitting properly or become uncomfortable to wear.

If after reading these symptoms, you feel that one or more may apply to you, do not panic. There can be a number of reasons other than oral cancer for the occurrence of such symptoms, however, it is best to contact Shepherds Hill Dental Centre for an examination.


350 Shepherds Hill Road,
Blackwood, Adelaide, SA 5051