Division of Oral Pathology

Director, Dr. Deborah Cleveland

The mission of the Division is to foster an understanding of normal and pathologic cells, tissues and organs so that students may comprehend the basic processes and mechanisms that underlie all diseases. This knowledge will provide the foundation for a detailed and comprehensive understanding of diseases affecting the various organ systems and the oral and maxillofacial complex. The goal is to provide a framework for the development of clinical skills, including the ability to develop a clinical differential diagnosis, manage oral diseases appropriately and maintain the oral health, comfort and function of their patients.

Histology. The Histology course is a combination of a traditional microscopic anatomy course with additional information from the fields of biochemistry, cell biology, embryology, maxillofacial development, immunology, pathology and physiology. The course consists of a series of lectures and slide presentations. Lectures include structure-function relationships based upon information from light and electron microsocopy, histochemistry, cell and molecular biology and other areas. The specific significance of concepts to the understanding of clinical areas of dentistry are emphasized.

General Pathology. This course is presented in the spring semester of the freshman year. In this course students learn about the fundamental process that underlies all human diseases. The subjects of cellular pathology, inflammation and wound healing, neoplasia, hemodynamic derangements, immune disorders, and genetic disorders will be presented.

Systemic Pathology. This course, presented in the fall trimester of the sophomore year, takes the knowledge learned in "General Pathology" and applies it to specific diseases of each organ system. Students will learn the causes, pathogenesis, morphology and clinical manifestations of various diseases, and will learn to correlate clinical presentation with pathologic changes at the biochemical, subcellular, cellular and tissues levels.

Oral Pathology. The discipline of oral pathology within the dental school curriculum represents the culmination of basic science education and its convergence with clinical dentistry. The course consists of lectures, lecture reviews, differential diagnosis demonstrations, and clinical-pathologic case conferences. Abnormalities of the oral mucosa and jaws are covered by two parallel didactic/pedagogic methodologies. Lectures cover abnormalities of the oral mucosa and jaws in a sequence based on their etiology, irrespective of their clinical presentation; individual diseases are described on the basis of etiology, pathogenesis, clinical, radiologic and histologic features, management and prognosis. The second approach categorizes the diseases according to their clinical and/or radiologic features rather than their etiology.