UTHealth School of Dentistry Department of Diagnostics & Biomedical Sciences presents Oral Pathology Symposium 2019

Friday, February 1, 2019


Oral Pathology Symposium focuses on maxillofacial pathology covering a variety of conditions encountered in general and specialty dental practices.


Oral Diagnostic Aids | Dr. Ashley Clark


Course Description:

This course is designed to provide information to oral health care professionals about the various types of diagnostic aids used for oral cancer screenings, including use, results, sensitivity, specificity and how treatment is affected.

Course Objectives:

  • Describe how to conduct a proper oral cancer screening
  • Discuss diagnostic adjuncts including oral cytology and vital staining
  • Discuss light-based detection systems including autofluorescence and tissue reflectance
  • Describe the literature regarding oral diagnostic aids
  • Discuss the evidence-based recommendations regarding clinical use of oral diagnostic aids.

HPV-driven oropharyngeal SCCa | Dr. Ashley Clark


Course Description:

This course is designed to provide information to oral health care professionals concerning updates for oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCCa), including the most recent information about human papillomavirus (HPV)-driven oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma.

Course Objectives:

  • Discuss differences between low-risk and high-risk HPV
  • Know the prevalence of HPV and the most commonly affected demographic
  • Discuss the differences between traditional oral SCCa and HPV-driven SCCa
  • Know the prognostic importance of distinguishing traditional SCCa with HPV-driven SCCa
  • Understand how HPV-driven SCCa may be prevented.


A Systematic Approach to Distinguishing Between Non-Dental, Plaque-Induced Gingival Conditions | Dr. Ngozi Nwizu


Course Description:

Dentists are typically able to distinguish between the various types of dental-plaque-induced gingival conditions that commonly present in general dental practice. Gingival conditions not associated with dental plaque (biofilm), however, may create a diagnostic dilemma. Some of these non-dental, plaque-induced gingival conditions may mimic plaque-induced gingivitis or periodontitis. They may be isolated to the gingiva, occur concurrently with lesions elsewhere in the oral cavity, or represent a manifestation of a dermatological condition or other underlying systemic condition. This course highlights these various non-dental, plaque-induced gingival conditions and provides useful tips on distinguishing clinical characteristics and relevant diagnostic investigations, where applicable.


Course Objectives:

  • The goal of this course is to enable participants to identify and distinguish between different types of non-dental, plaque-induced gingival conditions, including:
  • Non-dental, plaque-induced localized and generalized gingival enlargements
  • Non-dental, plaque-induced ulcerative gingival conditions of infective (bacterial, viral and fungal) origins
  • Non-dental, plaque-induced vesiculoulcerative gingival conditions of dermatological origins
  • Non-plaque-induced gingival inflammation of allergic origins, including foreign body reactions
  • Non-plaque-induced gingival inflammation due to mechanical, chemical and thermal trauma
  • Formulate appropriate differential diagnoses through review of case studies.


Principles of Intraoral Biopsy, Including “Do's and Don'ts” of the Paperwork | Dr. Kalu Ogbureke


Course Description:

Oral and maxillofacial (head and neck) pathologists often receive biopsy specimens deemed inadequate for histopathologic diagnosis. In addition to issues with the size and nature of submitted materials, shortfalls are related to inadequately completed request forms. Pathologists, like jurors, are tasked with the responsibility of assembling all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle (history, clinical findings, radiographic and histopathologic findings) in order to arrive at a “verdict” (definitive diagnosis); therefore, it is often necessary that the clinician requesting a pathology report provide all “evidence” (information) necessary to complement the histopathologic findings. When clinicians fail to provide requisite information pertaining to a particular case, or fail to adhere to basic principles of a biopsy, significant pieces of this puzzle may be missing. Consequently, the pathologist may be led down the wrong path, which ultimately may lead to an erroneous verdict (diagnosis), or a “hung jury” (inconclusive diagnosis), sometimes with far-reaching clinical implications for the clinician and their patient. This course aims to sensitize clinicians to potential diagnostic pitfalls (some with legal ramifications) that may occur as a result of suboptimal biopsy requests. Clinical case scenarios/demonstrations and a mini-workshop format will be used.


Course Objectives:

  • Provide a comprehensive and detailed refresher course for the dentist and other clinicians involved in the biopsy of orofacial lesions on the basic procedures for obtaining optimal biopsy specimens
  • Familiarize participants with various issues relating to inadequate or improper tissue sampling and specimen collection, and explain how these may interfere with histopathologic interpretation
  • Identify helpful tips on choosing appropriate biopsy sites, proper methods of specimen collection, preservation and transport, as well as provide helpful tips for effective communication between the clinician and the pathologist
  • Illustrate how to properly complete pertinent information on a biopsy request form
  • Participants will use clinical case scenarios/demonstrations and a hands-on format to practice the essentials of a complete biopsy request.



An Update on Jaw Cysts, Tumors and Their Mimics | Dr. Nadarajah Vigneswaran



Clinical and radiographic diagnosis of both odontogenic and non-odontogenic jaw cysts and tumors can be a significant challenge, even for experienced dentists, because of their rarity.  Most jaw lesions are detected as an incidental finding during routine dental radiographic survey. Occasionally, jaw lesions are symptomatic and may present with pain/paresthesia, swelling, teeth displacement, and increased tooth mobility. Although most jaw pathoses are benign cysts, tumors and tumor-like lesions, some may exhibit aggressive and locally destructive behavior. The presence or absence of symptoms are not sufficient to distinguish locally aggressive or malignant jawbone diseases from more common innocuous jaw lesions. It is often difficult to discriminate cysts or tumor-like jaw lesions from one another with radiographic findings alone without clinicopathologic correlation.



  • A systematic case-based approach will be used to:
  • Discuss groups of frequently occurring jaw cysts, tumors and their mimics based on their clinical, radiographic and histopathologic findings
  • Discuss the diagnostic importance of the location of odontogenic cysts/tumors and their relationship to the tooth
  • Describe odontogenic cysts and tumors with and without mineralization, and their importance in radiographic differential diagnoses
  • Describe the odontogenic cysts and tumors associated with failure of tooth eruption
  • Describe the key clinicopathologic and radiologic features of commonly occurring pseudocysts, non-odontogenic tumors and tumor-like lesions
  • Discuss the clinical, demographic and radiographic aspects of reactive and neoplastic benign fibro-osseous lesions of the jawbones
  • Review the cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) findings of jaw cysts and tumors and their effects on surrounding structures such as tooth roots and other anatomical structures
  • Review some of the hematologic and primary bone malignancies mimicking benign jaw lesions. 


Sign-Up Today!


Course Fee:

$320 Dentist + 1* Allied Dental Personnel
$175 Allied Dental Personnel

Unregistered participants will be assessed a $175 walk-in fee.


*Information for allied dental personnel is required upon registration.

Course fee is due at time of registration.

About the Presenter(s)


Ashley Clark, DDS, is an assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry. She obtained a DDS from Indiana University and a certificate in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology from The University of Florida. Dr. Clark worked at West Virginia University as an oral pathologist and lab director before joining UTHealth. While at WVU, she opened an interprofessional, free oral cancer screening clinic for which she was nominated for the Early Career Innovator Award. At UTHealth, she is course director for all undergraduate oral pathology classes, president of the Faculty Senate and has been nominated for the John Freeman Award for Outstanding Non-Clinical Teaching. Dr. Clark authored the oral pathology section of both Dental Decks and Dental Hygiene Decks (2014 edition) and currently consults for a new national study guide designed for the integrated format of dental board examinations. Dr. Clark has published more than 25 papers and abstracts, is part of the biopsy service at UTHealth School of Dentistry, and is currently accepting patients for her clinical oral pathology practice at UT Dentists.


  Kalu U. E. Ogbureke, BDS, DMSc, JD, MSc, is a tenured professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology and chair of the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at UTHealth School of Dentistry at Houston. Ogbureke holds several visiting professorships at institutions in the U.S. and abroad.  His clinical practice is in the specialty of diagnostic oral and maxillofacial histopathology, head and neck pathology, and clinical oral medicine. Ogbureke has received several awards including the inaugural Neal W. Chilton Fellowship in Clinical Research by the American Association for Dental Research and the Emerging Scientist Award from Augusta University Research Institute. Ogbureke has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed scientific articles in high-impact journals and book chapters, and is the editor and co-author of the book “Oral Cancer.”


Nadarajah Vigneswaran, BDS, DMD, DrMedDent, is a Professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. He earned a bachelor of dental surgery degree (BDS) from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and his DMD from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry at Birmingham. He obtained his DrMedDent degree in immunopathology from the University of Erlangen. He completed his residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Vigneswaran is board-certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and is a fellow of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Dr. Vigneswaran provides clinical oral and maxillofacial pathology consultation services for adults, adolescents and children at UT Dentists, the School of Dentistry’s faculty practice. He is the Director of UTSD-Houston Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Biopsy service which processes approximately 5,000 cases per year and is one of the largest biopsy services for the dental profession in this country. He is actively involved in both clinical and laboratory-based research related to oral cancer and its precursors. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications in high-impact journals and four chapters in medical text books. He has been an invited presenter for national and international research conferences and received over $6.2 million in grant funding from federal (NIH), state (CPRIT) and local (UTHealth CTSA Consortium) levels as a principal and co-investigator.



Ngozi N. Nwizu, BDS, MMSc, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry. She obtained her dental degree from the University of Lagos in Nigeria, and a Master of Medical Science degree in oral pathology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, U.K. In addition, she completed her residency in oral and maxillofacial pathology where she received a specialty certification from the State University of New York at Buffalo, N.Y., and also earned a doctorate degree (PhD) in pathology (Cancer Epidemiology Track) from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Graduate Division of the same university.

Dr. Nwizu is currently involved in teaching pathobiology and oral diseases to dental students and dental hygiene students, and also participates in teaching about oral mucosal diseases to dental residents. She also provides oral pathology consults on the clinic floors and participates in the UTSD School of Dentistry surgical pathology biopsy service (5,000+ cases/year). Her current research interests are in periodontal disease, oral microbiome and cancer risk. She is also interested in improved treatment modalities for head and neck cancers, and novel approaches to reduce cancer- and treatment-related morbidities.

Dr. Nwizu is a board-certified diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, and a fellow of both the American Academy of Oral Medicine and the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 


Credit Hours

730 Oral Medicine, Oral Diagnosis, Oral Pathology - Lecture: Hours - 7.5

Time and Location


Check-in & Breakfast:
8:00 AM to 8:30 AM


8:30 AM to 4:00 PM

Includes Continental Breakfast & Lunch


The Denton A. Cooley, MD & Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center
7440 Cambridge Street
Houston, TX 77054

Click here for directions

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UTHealth School of Dentistry
PACE Center, Continuing Dental Education
7500 Cambridge St., Suite 6152
Houston, TX 77054
Ph: 713-486-4028
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Email: PACE@uth.tmc.edu