Diseases of the oral cavity and pharynx

The oral cavity is connected to the oesophagus via the pharynx Its purpose is food intake and preparing for further digestive processes. Due to these functions, the oral cavity is exposed to mechanical, thermal, chemical and bacteriological influences daily, which can damage it and cause various illnesses.

  • Diseases of the mucosa and tongue

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    The complex diseases of the oral mucosa and tongue include congenital anomalies and acquired changes, which can have a benign or malignant development. Some changes can be based on skin or general diseases. However, other changes are a result of inflammation from bacterial or viral pathogens, fungi or in rare cases, physical or chemical stimuli. The clinical appearance of inflammation of the oral mucosa ranges from slight redness, blisters to massive ulcers.

  • Inflammation of the tonsils and throat / pain when swallowing, throat pain

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    Tonsillitis can be acute or chronic. Usually it is caused by bacteria, more rarely also by viruses. In chronic inflammations, often a mixed infection is the case. Often, tonsilloliths can occur. Tonsillitis can manifest as throat pain or pain when swallowing, halitosis, difficulty in speaking and the swelling of the cervical lymph nodes. Bacterial tonsillitis accompanied by high fever is called Angina tonsillaris.

  • Enlarged tonsils in children (tonsils and adenoids)

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    Snoring and impaired nasal breathing, sometimes even accompanied by night apneas, can be a sign of enlarged tonsils (tonsils and adenoids). Other side effects include daytime sleepiness, irritability, rejection of solid food and growth retardation. Depending on the age of the child and the type of disease, localised measures may solve the problem. In individual cases, surgical removal of the pharyngeal and or palatine tonsils is necessary.

  • Tumours

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    Both benign and malignant tumours can form in the oral cavity and the pharynx. If benign tumours (e.g. fibromas, papilloma, haemangiomas) cause suffering, these should be treated surgically. This is a small procedure in which the diseased tissue is removed. The formation of malignant changes in the oral mucosa can be encouraged by many years of nicotine and alcohol consumption or by a viral genesis (human papilloma virus HPV). A biopsy needs to be taken to assess and diagnose the tumour and, if necessary, imaging must be performed. Only then, can the treating doctor decide on the appropriate therapy.

  • Tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils)

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    Tonsillectomy is necessary in case of recurrent inflammation (angina tonsillaris) or greatly enlarged palatine tonsils with a restriction of the mouth and throat (hyperplasia) as is often the case in children suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome. Halitosis caused by tonsilloliths can also be a relative indication. Tonsils are removed in hospital under general anaesthesia, the procedure takes about 20 minutes. In this procedure, the tonsils are removed from their palate beds. Open wounds remains, which usually heal within 14 days.

  • Removal of adenoids (adenoidectomy)

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    An enlarged adenoid can be the cause of restricted nasal breathing and / or a ventilation disorder in the middle ear. In appropriate cases the pharyngeal tonsil should be removed by means of adenoidectomy. The outpatient procedure is performed via the mouth and throat, under full anaesthesia, in the hospital and takes about 15 minutes. The risk of bleeding is low.

  • Snoring (rhonchopathy)

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    Snoring is common in adults and not particularly dangerous for the person affected. However, it can also be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSAS), a sleep-related breathing disorder, in which the upper respiratory tract is repeatedly blocked, resulting in oxygen deficiency. Respiratory arrests, arousal reactions and therefore a disturbed sleeping pattern, are the effects which can result in daytime sleepiness and impaired concentration.

    The diagnosis of snoring requires an accurate recording of individual sleeping habits. If OSAS is suspected, a sleep study is performed. In addition, the ENT physician will always examine the nose, nose-throat area, oral cavity, pharynx and larynx by means of an endoscopy.


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