Oral Cancer Screening
An important part of any oral hygiene routine is keeping up with your six-month checkups. That means coming into our office here at Oasis Dental and allowing us to clean and examine your teeth and mouth for potential issues. Dr. Aldridge has years of experience giving him the expertise to take great care of you and your family. One of the many ways he does so is by providing oral cancer screenings at each of your appointments. This small exam can go a long way.
What is Oral Cancer?
Like any other cancer, oral cancer is when cells grow uncontrollably and begin to attack the cells and tissues that surround them, but in this case, it is specific to your mouth. It can happen in any part of your mouth, including your gums, cheeks, lips, tongue, throat, sinuses, and palate. Oral cancer starts as a sore that just does not seem to go away no matter what you do to try and treat it. Especially if you are over the age of 35, regular screenings are a must, as the earlier, it is caught, the higher your chance of survival. While smoking does indeed put you at an increased risk of oral carcinomas, 25% of diagnoses are for non-smokers, so it is still essential to get screened regularly.
What Does a Screening Involve?
Getting screened for oral cancer is quick, easy, and painless. We do it right alongside the examination of your teeth and gums when you come in for your regular check-up. It takes less than five minutes and can save you much time, hassle, and potential pain later. It involves nothing more than looking and feeling around in key areas. We will look at your face from the outside first, including your lips and cheeks to look for any abnormalities, and we will listen to your voice, as certain rasps or thicknesses may indicate an issue in your throat. We may gently feel certain areas of your face to check for any asymmetries or lumps.
We will also look inside your mouth for discolorations, sores, abscesses, general irregularities, or issues with movement. We will feel any areas that may be prone to lumps where we cannot see them. We may also feel around your throat and lymph nodes to ensure that there is nothing there as well. Finding oral cancer early increases survival odds to 80–90%, so we want to make sure that we have covered every possible base. We will examine your gums, cheeks, tongue, the roof and floor of your mouth, and your throat.
If you are at high risk for oral cancer or are a smoker, it is even more important for you to come in regularly so Dr. Aldridge can keep on the lookout for early symptoms. Oasis Dental cares about our patients, and we want to help you find the signs as early as possible so that you can start treatment when it is most effective.