Oral Cancer Screening
Just like any form of cancer, it is vital to diagnose oral cancer in its early stages to effectively treat it and restore your mouth to health. Treatments during initial stages could also lead to a faster recovery time. For those reasons, our dentists at Singing River Dentistry conduct oral cancer screenings with every routine oral exam.
What is Oral cancer?
Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells. Oral cancer, therefore, is an unchecked growth in any part of your mouth that will not go away naturally. The most common sites of oral cancer include the lips, tongue, and floor of your mouth. It can also be in your throat, cheeks, or neck.
What Our Dentists Look for in an Oral Cancer Screening
During your routine oral exam, our dentists will also conduct an oral cancer screening. Some common things our dentists look for during an oral cancer screening are lumps, swelling, or sores. These may be in your neck, lips, gums, or inside your mouth. Another symptom might be white or red patches throughout your mouth.
The basic screening will take no more than five minutes. Our dentists will look at all parts of your mouth. This includes the top and bottom of your tongue, inside your cheeks, the roof and floor of your mouth, your gums, and the back of your throat. They will feel for any lumps in your neck, head, and face. Sometimes, our dentist will have you rinse with a blue dye before the screening. This color will reveal any unusual cells in your mouth. These cells absorb the blue dye, making them easier to identify.
What are Symptoms to be Concerned About?
There are a few things to be cognizant of that might be symptoms of oral cancer. Having trouble with day-to-day activities like chewing or swallowing, speaking, or the general movement of your jaw becomes difficult could be physical signs of oral cancer. It is important to discuss with our dentists if you have unexplained numbness anywhere in your face, neck, or mouth. A few other symptoms include a dramatic weight loss, consistent sore throat, or a change in your normal voice.
Risk Factors That Make Oral Cancer More Likely
Some risk factors make oral cancer more prevalent in some individuals. Many of these are lifestyle choices, that when done in moderation or avoided all together can reduce the chances of getting oral cancer. Some of these lifestyle choices include the use of tobacco, marijuana, or smokeless tobacco. The excessive use of alcohol, and too much sun exposure may also put you at a higher risk of oral cancer. Additionally, if you have a family history of cancer or a viral infection such as HPV, you may be more likely to contract oral cancer.
It is important to catch the warning signs of oral cancer early on. While our professionals conduct oral cancer screenings regularly, if you are concerned or have one or more of these symptoms, call our professionals at Singing River Dentistry at 256 - 562 - 4001 today. We are here to help you maintain and improve your oral health.