Oral Pathology: Detecting Oral Cancer and Other Conditions

Dr. Dustin J. Hopkin specializes in oral pathology at our Salt Lake City, UT, practice. Oral pathology is the study, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and conditions that affect the mouth, jaw, and face. These can include oral cancer, benign growths, and sores that simply do not heal. Dr. Hopkin can evaluate suspect tissues, perform a biopsy if necessary, and diagnose the cause of the condition. If you have noticed any lesions or discomfort, we encourage you to reach out online or call 801-277-3942 to schedule a consultation as soon as possible, since early detection of these conditions is the surest means of successful treatment.

oral cancer screening
Early detection is the key to treating oral cancer.


Using advanced techniques, Dr. Hopkin can diagnose a range of conditions:

Oral Cancer: Genetics, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and other factors can contribute to the development of oral cancer. Signs can include red or white sores in the mouth, bumps, and other irregular growths. Regular screenings and early diagnosis can improve survival rates significantly. 

Geographic Tongue:  Benign migratory glossitis, better known as geographic tongue, is a condition in which the small bumps, or papillae, are missing from the tongue in certain areas. This creates areas of red patches, resulting in a “map-like” look. These patches may come and go, and sometimes cause a burning sensation. 

During a consultation, Dr. Hopkin can use advanced methods to provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend an effective treatment plan.

Median Palatal Cyst: This cyst forms in the middle of the palate (the roof of the mouth). It can cause significant discomfort, and may impede the ability to swallow and speak properly. 

Hairy Tongue: Bacterial overgrowth in the mouth can make the tongue look black or give it a hairy appearance. While this is often a result of poor oral hygiene practices, other causes may include excessive use of antibiotics or radiation treatments. 

Dr. Hopkin can also help if you are suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, congenital defects, or oral complications with no apparent cause.

Diagnosis and Treatment

One of the most common methods used to diagnose an oral disease is a biopsy. During a biopsy, Dr. Hopkin can remove a small sample of the affected tissues and closely examine them to make an accurate diagnosis. This method is typically recommended after an oral cancer screening detects problematic growths or tissues. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Hopkin can determine if a growth is cancerous. If cancer is detected, treatments must begin promptly. 

For infections or chronic soreness, Dr. Hopkin may prescribe antibiotics. A hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse can also help eliminate overgrown bacteria. If cysts or other non-cancerous growths are present, oral surgery may be needed. Typically, Dr. Hopkin will only recommend surgery if the growth is causing discomfort, inhibits your ability to eat, swallow, or speak, or affects your breathing.

Contact Us

If you have a concerning growth or discomfort, contact our office today to schedule an appointment. During a consultation, Dr. Hopkin can use advanced methods to provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend an effective treatment plan.

Dustin J. Hopkin, DDS

Hopkin Oral Surgery Dustin J. Hopkin, DDS

Dr. Dustin J. Hopkin is a highly trained oral surgeon in Salt Lake City, UT. He is proud to be board-certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. At Hopkin Oral Surgery, Dr. Hopkin and his team provide excellent care with state-of-the-art technology and advanced treatment methods. Our most popular services include:

You can request a consultation with Dr. Hopkin by filling out our online form or calling (801) 277-3942.

Contact Us Today

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