Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a quick, painless step that we have incorporated into your annual checkup. Research has shown that dentists spot the symptoms of oral cancer more often than any other medical professional. This is in huge part because we understand the oral structure and what is to be expected or unusual. At Pine Belt Periodontics, PLLC, our team is dedicated to your oral healthcare, whether it is preventive care, dealing with gum disease, or more.
Oral cancer, or mouth cancer, is often a less discussed form of cancer because many people attribute it to the use of harmful substances. Though, there is truth to harmful substances being a cause, it is not the only cause. Oral cancer, like all forms of cancer, can occur to anyone, and it is better to catch it earlier than later.
When most people consider oral cancer, they immediately think of people who smoke or chew tobacco. There has been some great research and guidance on the correlation of the two for decades that has been widely publicized. Overall, this revelation has been successful, and the use of tobacco has declined dramatically. Unfortunately, tobacco is not the only culprit. Patients can also develop oral cancer from: heavy consumption of alcohol, HPV, genetic predisposal, and more. Because oral cancer can be in anyone, we look for the signs and symptoms in all of our patients.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
An oral cancer screening includes reviewing the entire oral cavity. We examine the inside of the mouth and then the lips, cheeks, and neck. During your oral cancer screening, we look for certain signs. If we spot a sign, this does not mean you have oral cancer, but we may ask to take a closer look through a biopsy. The signs include:
The discovery of any or all of these signs should not cause any alarm. They are simply an indication that more information is needed. We may ask to take a closer look through digital radiography, we may ask that another professional take a closer look, or we may ask to take a small sample for biopsy. Gathering information to protect you, our patient, is an important aspect to our profession. Your health matters.