What are the signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer can manifest in several ways, including the following:
- Lumps or bumps on the lips or gums
- Areas where the tissue has thickened or become rough.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Chronic sore throat.
- Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.
- Unexplained numbness or pain in the face or mouth.
- Sores on the face or mouth that do not heal within two weeks.
- Discolored patches of tissue in the mouth.
- Constantly feeling like something is stuck in the back of the throat.
What do the dentists look for during an oral cancer screening?
During the screening, our dentists visually inspect the mouth and surrounding area for any abnormalities that could indicate cancerous or precancerous cells. They may also ask you questions about your lifestyle because some behaviors can increase your risk for oral cancer. If one of our dentists does find something, they will refer you to a medical doctor for a biopsy for confirmation.
Why is early detection of oral cancer so important?
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, when caught early, oral cancer has an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. That rate drops significantly for those whose cancer is diagnosed at later stages. By attending your routine dental checkup and cleaning with us every six months, you can stay one step ahead of oral cancer.
Biopsies for Oral Cancer
Keep in mind that we cannot diagnose you with oral cancer at the dental office. Only a medical doctor can effectively confirm the presence of oral cancer. If something suspicious is noticed, we will recommend a biopsy be performed and evaluated. A biopsy is a relatively simple procedure designed to test a small portion of tissue for the presence of abnormal or cancer cells. Most biopsies can be performed in our dental office and will be sent to a medical pathologist for a diagnosis. We will ensure that you know the next steps should you receive a diagnosis that comes up positive for something concerning.
Don’t Delay, Contact Us
At Dental Renaissance, we are grateful for the trust our patients put in us for their dental care. We are truly committed to improving your oral and overall health. To schedule an appointment, contact us today.