Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, we're also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like any kind of cancer, oral cancer can be life–threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. You are the most important factor in the early diagnosis of oral cancer through routine screenings recommended by our office.
We have the skills and tools to identify early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and pre-cancerous conditions. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Our team is trained in a simple, quick screening which involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole and not just your teeth to detect cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and the lymph nodes of your neck to detect any abnormalities. We use hi-illumination headlights and telescopic lenses to provide superior visibility. If we find an area of concern, we may recommend a ViziLite Plus oral cancer screening. If a suspicious area is noted, a simple test, called a a brush test can provide more information. This brush test collects cells from the suspicious lesion in the mouth and is sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer
- The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.
- During your next dental exam, ask your dentist about your oral cancer exam. If you are concerned about a growth or sore in your mouth, a ViziLite Plus Screening may be recommended and if necessary, a brush test. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment.