Our team at DiMeo Family Dental is here to look after your oral health. Oral cancer, as a sub-category of cancer, is an uncontrollable growth in your mouth. Like in any other cancer, you should check annually after the age of eighteen years old. Some of the risk factors for oral cancer are: smoking or chewing tobacco in any form, excessive alcohol consumption and sun exposure, heredity, previous cancer history, and some strains of HPV (human papillomavirus). However, it is often the case that people might be in danger of getting oral cancer even if they do not fit into those categories. That is why a regular check-up to our dentists is important, even if you follow a healthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include unusual growths inside your mouth, persistent sores, loose teeth, pain in your mouth or your ears, and difficulty swallowing. In case you notice something similar, you should book an appointment to visit our doctors to examine your condition. It is better to do so immediately after noticing anything abnormal. A visit to our doctors can save more than your smile, it could save your life and much higher medical bills down the road.
Oral Cancer Screening
The screening process is easy and pain-free. The mouth is a relatively easily accessed area, so the examination is non-invasive. A basic check-up normally lasts around five minutes. In case you use dentures, you will have to remove them before the examination. Our doctors will examine your lips, your tongue, your gums, your cheeks (in and out), and your throat for any unusual or troublesome issues.
During the examination, our doctors will put you in a position that is comfortable and also allows them full viewing of all parts in your mouth. Our doctors might place a finger in your mouth, under your chin and your jaw. In cases when a more thorough screening is required, you will have to rinse with a blue-colored liquid before the examination. In this way, any peculiar cells will absorb the color and become visibly apparent to our doctors. We will also check for any discoloration, unusual texture, shape or asymmetry.
If the screening shows something of concern, you will need to attend another appointment in a few weeks for our doctors to check if the abnormality has persisted. It is often the case that unusual growths might also be a result of another medical condition, such as an infection. During your second visit this may have cleared up or it may be suggested that further investigation is needed. In line with this, our doctors may suggest a biopsy. This will involve taking a sample from the place that is indicated and sending it to the laboratory to be examined for any cancer cells.
Oral cancer screening is very important for your health because it can detect cancerous or pre-cancerous conditions at an early stage. This early detection affords our patients better chances of quick and effective treatment. If you need more information, feel free to contact DiMeo Family Dental at (772) 362-9555 at any time.