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About Us

Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology serves as one of the integral bridges between the basic sciences, clinical dentistry and research. The specialty deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. It is a science that investigates the causes, processes, and effects of these diseases. The practice of oral and maxillofacial pathology includes research, diagnosis of diseases using clinical, radiographic, microscopic, biochemical, or other examinations, and management of patients. 


The mission of the Department of Oral Pathology is to provide a comprehensive healthcare service through prompt and accurate microscopic diagnosis of oral and maxillofacial disease, deliver undergraduate and postgraduate training programmes of the highest quality, and strengthen collaboration in order to provide a unified and co-ordinated effort to drive the advancement of oral and maxillofacial pathology as a specialty in dentistry. 

Microscopic diagnostic service 

The Department provides a microscopic diagnostic service and clinical consultation services to the Wits Oral Health Centre, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, Tembisa, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic (CHBAH), Thelle Mogoerane Regional (THMRH), Helen Joseph, Pholosong, Kopanong, Leratong, St John’s OPD, Bertha Gxowa, Natalspruit and Sebokeng hospitals. Approximately 1,500 specimens are received annually. The Department performs routine diagnostic testing, and the results are used for the clinical management of patients. The Department also offers expertise in the interpretation of special stains, immunohistochemistry and molecular assays for cancer diagnosis.  Consultations are also offered on second opinion cases for pathologists in the public and private sectors. 

A memorandum of understanding exists between the University and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) which allows the Department of Oral Pathology to make use of its facilities, not only for training and teaching purposes but also for research. The Anatomical Pathology laboratory is funded by the NHLS and is equipped to train postgraduate students in Oral Pathology. Facilities and services offered include routine histopathology, histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, cytology, immunofluorescence, frozen sections, in situ hybridisation, PCR, cytogenetics, and electron microscopy services.