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Why Should an Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist Examine Your Biopsy?

By Juliana Robledo

Oral and maxillofacial pathology is the specialty of dentistry that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions (1). Specialists in oral and maxillofacial pathology train intensively for 3 to 5 years, in the microscopic and clinical diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the oral and maxillofacial regions. Oral and maxillofacial pathologists are dentists first, and this makes them unique in their understanding of terminology, growth and development, anatomy, and disease processes of the oral and maxillofacial regions. They can correlate the clinical aspects of these disease processes with the histopathologic diagnoses to provide the highest quality of patient care.

Doctors from the different dental specialties can work closely with the oral and maxillofacial pathologist because they use the same terminology and have similar backgrounds in dental training, and this allows for more meaningful communication, ensuring the most accurate histologic diagnosis, for the best patient care. Here at South Texas Oral Pathology, I encourage telephone consultations with our contributors, I enjoy receiving photographs of patient lesions, and I am always willing to discuss differential diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

It is important that you insist on the services of an oral and maxillofacial pathologist because we have been trained to understand what you are seeing clinically and describe it in our common language of dentristy. Oral developmental, reactive, benign neoplastic and malignant neoplastic conditions, many of them odontogenic in origin, may not be seen routinely by the general surgical pathologist and therefore may present diagnostic dilemmas (2). Oral and maxillofacial pathologists have better knowledge of the oral and maxillofacial regions and can, therefore, provide the highest quality of patient care.

  1. Neville BW, Damm DD, Allen CM, Bouquot, JE. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 2002, W.B. Saunders Company
  2. Massey D. Potential pitfalls in diagnostic oral pathology: a review for the general surgical pathologist. Adv Anat Pathol. 2005 Nov;12(6):332-49

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