Online Dental Education Library

Dr. Goldman and his staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions, please contact us.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are unique among dentists in that they all have completed an additional four years of hospital-based training alongside medical residents, and can administer all types of anesthesia. If you have a diseased or impacted tooth that needs to come out, implants to be placed, a suspicious lesion that needs a biopsy, or any other oral health condition requiring surgical diagnosis or treatment, we can help. Learn more about Oral Surgery.

Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Chronic loud snoring is a common symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when the upper airway is blocked to the point of causing significant airflow disruption, or even no airflow whatsoever for 10 seconds or more. This can be a dangerous situation. Learn more about Snoring & Sleep Apnea.

Tooth Extractions

There are times when it is in your best interest to have a tooth extracted (removed). This could be the case for a variety of reasons, including: damage or trauma to the tooth; an impacted wisdom tooth that may cause trouble for you later on; or overcrowding. Learn more about Tooth Extractions.

Implant Dentistry

Dental Implant Video

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants offer the comfort and security of a permanent replacement that looks and functions just like your natural teeth. Dental implants also help preserve the tooth-supporting bone in your jaw that deteriorates when even one tooth is lost.

Oral Diagnosis & Biopsies

When it comes to detecting certain oral or systemic (whole-body) diseases, a thorough dental exam may be your first line of defense. Learn more about Oral Diagnosis & Biopsies.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting, a minor in-office surgical procedure, is commonly used in dentistry to correct deficiencies in bone quality and to build support for teeth or dental implants. Learn more about Bone Grafting.

Sedation Dentistry & Anesthesia

We want you to have the most comfortable dental treatment experience possible. That's why we offer sedation, to help you relax, and/or anesthesia, to block your sensations of pain. Learn more about Sedation Dentistry.

Facial Trauma & Reconstructive Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are capable of treating the full scope of injuries to the structures of the face, mouth or jaws — including the teeth, the bones of the jaws and face, and the tissue of the skin and gums. We can also treat congenital defects such as cleft palate.

TMJ Disorders

If you have chronic pain in or around your jaw, or find the movement of your jaw is restricted, you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Learn more about TMJ Disorders.

Treating Dental Emergencies

We can treat a variety of traumatic dental injuries, including teeth that have been moved or knocked out entirely. Please call our office for assistance, or click here to learn more about what to do in a dental emergency.

Dental exam.When you come into the dental office for an examination, you might assume that the focus is on your teeth. That's often correct — but don't forget that there are a number of other parts of the oral and facial anatomy that are examined as well. These include areas around and inside the mouth (such as the lips, gums, hard and soft palate, and the tongue) as well as outside the mouth (the skin, muscles and glands in the neck, and the temporomandibular joint). In fact, when it comes to detecting certain oral or systemic (whole-body) diseases, a thorough dental exam may be your first line of defense.

How are diseases in the mouth discovered? Most of the time, it's simple: You will be asked about any changes you have noticed, or symptoms you may be experiencing. Your face, mouth, and neck will then be visually inspected, and certain areas may be palpated (gently touched or pressed with fingers) or probed (touched with a small instrument). If needed, additional tests or diagnostic imaging (X-rays or other methods) may be used to aid in diagnosis.

Occasionally, an abnormality such as a lesion (an unusual localized change in your tissues) is found that needs to be examined further. Lesions may resemble white or red spots or lumps (tumors), but they are typically benign. However, it is often better to err on the side of caution and perform a biopsy to be sure. This may involve making a small incision and removing a part of the suspicious area. The tissue sample will be sent to a pathologist, who examines it under a microscope for signs of disease.

Some Oral Diseases To Look For

Oral diagnosis and biopsies.Oral cancer is perhaps the most significant disease to look for in an examination — both because it can be life-threatening, and because early detection is proven to increase the survival rate. But it's important to remember that a large majority of unusual growths are found to be benign. Some other oral diseases that may be screened for include:

  • Fibroma, a thickened mass that may feel like a lump in the lining of the mouth.
  • Leukoplakia, a condition that causes white patches to form inside the mouth. While usually benign, the lesions may be precancerous and are often biopsied.
  • Lichen Planus, an inflammatory disease that sometimes causes discomfort.
  • Mucous Membrane Pemphigoid, an autoimmune disease that may cause oral lesions, but is not life threatening.
  • “Pregnancy Tumors,” benign red swellings that may form on gum tissue of pregnant women due to hormonal changes.

In addition, some systemic diseases (such as diabetes, Crohn's disease, and heart disease) may produce effects that can be observed in the mouth. We are always on the lookout for signs of these potentially serious conditions.

When a Biopsy Is Needed

Although the majority of oral lesions are benign, if there is any possibility that the growth could be cancerous or pre-cancerous, it's likely that a biopsy will be performed. Depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, this may be a simple in-office procedure, or it may be done in a hospital setting. Typically, the procedure requires only local anesthesia, and it doesn't take long. If incisions are made, they are often closed with self-dissolving sutures (stitches) that don't need to be removed.

Because the oral tissues are rich in blood vessels, some bleeding is normal for a period of time afterward. You will be given follow-up instructions as needed, including how to manage swelling and discomfort, when to take medication, and what to eat and drink. Getting some rest and maintaining good oral hygiene will also help you get back to normal as quickly as possible. When the pathology report is complete (usually in a few days), you will be given the results.

Related Articles

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