Oral Pathology

Oral Pathology Specialist
Oral pathology is the practice of identifying and managing disease affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions, including the jaw, mouth, and salivary glands. Dr. Alan Esla treats conditions such as a cleft lip and palate or malocclusion to restore natural, functioning facial features. Consult his office, Oral & Facial Specialists, if you live in or around Bakersfield, California. Call or use the convenient online booking tool for an appointment.

Oral Pathology Q & A

What is a cleft lip or palate?

A cleft palate or lip is a congenital defect. When a baby grows in the womb, the different areas of the face develop individually and then join together. This includes the left and right side of the roof of the mouth and lips. If these sections fail to align, it results in a cleft.

Cleft lips and palates interfere with a normal facial appearance and can affect breathing and speech. Clefts occur in about one in every 800 births. Surgery repairs this defect.

What is malocclusion?

A malocclusion occurs when misalignments of the teeth or the jaw result in an irregular bite. Crowded, crooked, or protruding teeth may be the result, as can headaches, gum problems, and sleep disorders. In some cases, Dr. Esla may only be able to correct malocclusions with surgical realignment of the jaw bones.

What other conditions might require the assistance of an oral pathologist?

Benign and cancerous growths or tumors of the mouth may require removal by an oral surgeon like Dr. Esla. He can also help you with impacted teeth or cysts of the mouth that are causing pain, discomfort, swelling, and infection. Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections in the mouth also fall under the rubric of oral pathology.

When are cleft lips and palates repaired?

A child with a cleft lip usually undergoes surgical repair around the age of 10. The surgery closes the separation, restores muscle function, and gives the face a normal appearance.

Cleft palates are treated at a younger age, usually between 7 and 18 months of age. The surgery closes the gap between the roof of the mouth and the nose, connects the muscles to make the palate work, and lengthens the palate for optimal function.

What happens during recovery from oral surgery?

Dr. Esla and his staff give you specific instructions as to how to care for yourself following oral surgery. The exact recommendations depend on the extent of the surgery. Some surgeries require healing time, but children who undergo surgery to repair a cleft palate immediately have an easier time consuming food and liquids.

Not every oral surgery is successful the first time, particularly in the case of cleft palate repair. You may find additional surgeries necessary if you have a particularly complex condition.

Ask us

Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!

Follow Us
Hours