Oral pathology is the science that treats the nature,
causes, and development of oral diseases. It includes
both the clinical and the microscopic study of structural
and functional changes that cause, or are caused by, oral
and other diseases. Either the calcified or the soft tissues
of the oral cavity, or both, may be involved.
Some of the abnormal conditions that exist in the oral
cavity and cause patients to request treatment will be
described in this chapter and chapter 6, "Treatment of
Oral Diseases." Occasionally, the Dental Technician
might be the first one to observe these pathologic
conditions in the patients mouth. Always notify a dental
officer if you observe a condition you may have in
question. Never make a diagnosis or tell a patient what
you think he/she might have. That area of expertise is
the sole responsibility of the dental officer.
Although there are many oral anomalies (deviations
from normal), this chapter is limited to the two classes of
prime interest to Dental Technicians. These classes are
discussed in the following statements:
Congenital anomaliesOccur before birth.
Examples of such are cleft palate, cleft lip (fig.
5-1), and supernumerary teeth.
Acquired anomaliesOccur after birth.
Examples are periodontal disease and dental
Pathogenic conditions of the oral cavity may be
Pathologic micro-organisms: Destroy the
calcified tissues and inflame the soft tissues in
the oral cavity.
Defective development: Involves the
calcified tissues as a result of infection,
trauma, nutritional deficiencies, disease, or
Degeneration: Involves the hard or soft
Malocclusion: Results from defective
development of the jaws or loss of teeth, and
produces excessive stress on portions of the
Trauma: Involves either the calcified or soft
Figure 5-1.Cleft lip of an infant.