What To Expect During An Oral Cancer Screening

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 1:32 pm

Oral cancer is a common disease, with more than 40,000 Americans diagnosed each year. While serious, oral cancer is highly treatable when detected in its earliest stages. Many dentists include oral cancer screening as part of a regular dental check-up. Since dentists are trained to recognize the early signs of cancer, regular check-ups and screenings are the best chance a person has for early detection.

During your screening, the dentist will examine and evaluate your mouth and teeth for any signs of oral cancer. Some signs include:

  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Mouth sores that do not heal quickly
  • Mouth sores that bleed easily
  • Thickening of skin inside the mouth
  • Trouble with swallowing and/or chewing

If any abnormalities are detected, the dentist will perform a biopsy so that the tissue can be further examined and tested. There are two types of biopsies,and your dentist will select one at his or her discretion. An incisional biopsy removes a portion of the growth or lesion for testing, while an excisional biopsy involves the removal of the entire mass. Depending on the results of the biopsy, your dentist will devise a treatment plan.

Oral cancer tends to develop in people over the age of 40, and is more likely to affect men than women. Those who smoke or use other tobacco products or drink heavily have a much higher risk of developing oral cancer than those who do not use tobacco and consume alcohol in moderation. Research suggests that the combined use of tobacco and alcohol poses an especially high risk of oral cancer, since it is suspected that the interaction of these two substances has a synergistic effect in causing cancer. However, research also shows that abstaining from tobacco and alcohol use can immediately lower a person’s risk of oral cancer. Furthermore, within 10 years, a former smoker’s chances of developing oral cancer can become as low as a non-smoker.

For more information on oral cancer prevention, visit The Oral Cancer Foundation.

Dental Care in Toccoa

If you’re ready to learn more about your dental health, contact Wilbanks Smile Center today and schedule a consultation.  Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be reached at 706-886-9439.  We look forward to serving you.

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Category: Dental check ups, Dental Health, Mouth Health, oral health, Tongue Health

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