Oral Cancer Screening
At the dental office of John T. Black, Jr. DMD PA, your oral health is our top priority. When you come in for your biannual cleaning, we also perform a thorough oral exam. We check the condition of your teeth, noting any signs of damage or decay. We also look at your gums for signs of gum disease. During your exam, we also screen for oral cancer.
Oral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, can affect any region of your mouth – your lips, tongue, cheeks, palate, the floor of the mouth or the back of the mouth near the entrance of your throat. It can significantly impact the normal, everyday functions of your mouth, such as eating and speaking. What’s more is that, if not diagnosed and treated early, oral cancer is deadly. More than 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and of those 40,000 only about half of them survive past 5 years. For this reason, early detection is key.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer:
Warning Signs of Oral Cancer
During your regular dental visits, we screen for oral cancer, checking for any oddities in your mouth. You can also be on the lookout for these signs as well, and should call the office immediately if you notice them:
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
During our screening for oral cancer, we examine everywhere inside your mouth. We will also check for signs on the outside of your bodies, such as swelling of the face or neck. If we come across any unusual patches in your mouth that may be cause for concern, we will order a biopsy. With a biopsy, we take a small section of the lesion in your mouth and examine it under a microscope. In doing so, we can rule out or diagnose oral cancer. Whether the lesion is cancerous or not, once we know what the issue is, we are then able to create a treatment plan that best suits your needs.
While we screen for oral cancer during your biannual exams, symptoms can occur at any time. Don’t wait until your next exam to get them checked out. If you notice something odd in your mouth, call Dr. Black right away.