Oral Cancer Screening
PART OF YOUR ROUTINE DENTAL CARE
The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that there are nearly 50,000 new cases of oral cancer each year in the United States alone. Just over half of these individuals will survive past the five-year mark. Oral cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. Therefore, it is important to undergo routine screenings to ensure your oral and overall health is not at risk.
At Maitre and Crabtree Dental Group in Mobile, AL, we offer oral cancer screenings on a yearly basis to detect the disease at its earliest and most treatable stages. During this short procedure, your dentist will visually assess your oral cavity and feel for any abnormalities in the head and neck.
Who Is at Risk for Developing Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can affect anyone at any age. However, some people are at higher risk than others. For example, you are much more likely to develop oral cancer if you:
- Smoke or use any tobacco products
- Have a family history of cancer
- Are continuously exposed to high levels of UV light
- Have a compromised immune system
- Are over the age of 50
- Consume large amounts of alcohol
- Have poor nutrition
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The earliest symptoms of oral cancer are often undetectable to the naked eye. That is why it is so important to visit a dentist who is trained to identify harmful lesions. Warning signs of this disease may include:
- Sores or ulcerations that will not heal
- Irregular growths or lesions
- Red or white patches on the oral soft tissues
- Mouth pain or numbness
- Persistent hoarseness
- Difficulty speaking, chewing, or swallowing
- Jaw pain
- Chronic bad breath
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Sudden or unexplained weight loss
Routine oral cancer examinations can help detect warning signs of the disease before advanced symptoms develop.
What to Expect during Your Oral Cancer Screening
At Maitre & Crabtree Dental Group, oral cancer screenings are typically performed at the same time as your routine dental examination. During this visit, your dentist will visually assess your teeth, gums, and oral soft tissues. Using advanced technology, we can screen for mucosal irregularities inside the mouth. This non-invasive process takes only a few moments and can detect any concealed precancerous cells.
Every patient should undergo routine oral cancer screenings, especially if they face common risk factors for the disease.
Your doctor will also use x-ray technology to evaluate the health of your jawbone, joints, and other underlying structures. Comparing these images to the ones taken at the previous examination will help your dentist determine if any changes have occurred over time. Finally, your doctor will carefully feel the face, neck, and jawline for any lumps, bumps, or abnormalities.
If any irregularities are detected during your oral cancer screening, your doctor will perform a biopsy and submit the sample to a lab for further analysis. In the event that your biopsy results come back positive, we will refer you to a local oncologist for testing and treatment.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today
Every patient should undergo routine oral cancer screenings, especially if they face common risk factors for the disease. If it has been a while since you had a dental examination, cleaning, or screening, schedule a visit at Maitre & Crabtree Dental Group. Contact us online or call our office at (251) 333-7234.