Oral Cancer Screening
The ADA recommends that you have dental exams twice a year. These dental exams are crucial for helping you to maintain your oral health. We can detect a wide array of different oral health issues in their earliest stages and provide you with the treatment you need right away. Early detection and treatment are essential for restoring your oral health and preventing more serious consequences from arising. Your teeth are looked over for signs of physical damage and decay. Your gums are examined for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, and the formation of periodontal pockets. There is one more important part of your routine dental exams. During your exams, Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group also performs an oral cancer screening.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth. It is the largest group of head and neck cancers and affects over 40,000 Americans every year. Oral cancer can strike just about anywhere in the mouth and may start on the lips, the tongue, the cheeks, the gums, the roof of the mouth, or at the back near the entrance of your throat. Treatment for oral cancer is essential in the early stages.
The longer the issue goes untreated, the more it spreads. This makes treatment much more difficult. Without prompt treatment, oral cancer can be fatal. The earlier treatment is provided, the greater your chances for successful treatment and a complete recovery.
What are the Types of Oral Cancer?
There are a few different types of oral cancer that may develop. These include
There are also non-cancerous conditions that can develop that may become cancerous or precancerous. These conditions include
Am I at Risk?
Oral cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex. However, there are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease. Some of the most common risk factors for oral cancer include
In addition to these risk factors, there are factors that have not yet been proven but are believed to increase your risk. These factors are not backed by scientific studies and are controversial. Still, they are a concern for many individuals. These factors include
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
When oral cancer first develops, you might never even know that anything is wrong. The earliest symptoms are difficult, even impossible to detect. Some symptoms may be mistaken for other issues, which can leave the disease to go undiagnosed and therefore untreated. Some of the most common symptoms that can point toward oral cancer include
Why are Oral Cancer Screenings Important?
The ADA recommends having your mouth professionally examined twice a year, or once every six months. These exams are important for detecting a wide array of different oral health issues in their earliest stages, allowing you to get the treatment you need to stop the progression of the issue and preventing serious complications from developing.
We look over your teeth for signs of chips, cracks, tooth decay, and cavities. We check your gums for redness, swelling, periodontal pockets, gum recession, and other signs of infections. We can detect signs of these issues before you ever notice any symptoms. Early detection can also make treatment easier.
In addition to inspecting your teeth and gums, we also perform an oral cancer screening. Like the other parts of your oral exam, your oral cancer screening is essential for early detection. In this case, the screening allows us to detect the presence of oral cancer in its earliest stages. The early stages of oral cancer often do not exhibit any symptoms. In detecting oral cancer in its earliest stages, we can help you get prompt treatment to restore your oral health. The earlier oral cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat. Early treatment can also increase the chances that you make a full recovery. Without early detection, oral cancer is left to spread to other parts of your body. The longer it goes undetected, the more difficult it becomes to treat. It also increases the risk of oral cancer being fatal.
How is Oral Cancer Diagnosed?
The first stage in diagnosing oral cancer is your oral cancer screening. After we examine your teeth and gums, we take a look at your intraoral tissues looking for anything unusual. We look for lumps, patches of red or white, lesions, and other types of abnormalities. This screening is quick and completely painless, and you are often completely unaware that it happened.
If we do find something unusual, a closer examination is required. During this examination, we can diagnose the issue so that you can get the treatment that you need. There are several types of testing that may be performed to help accurately diagnose oral cancer. These tools include
What are the Treatments for Oral Cancer?
If you have received an oral cancer diagnosis, it is imperative that you seek treatment immediately. The specific treatment you receive will depend upon how advanced oral cancer is, its location, and the type. There are a few different types of treatments available, including
During your treatment, as well as your recovery from treatment, it is essential that you take care of yourself. Making sure that you eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential. However, you may find that certain types of treatments affect your appetite.
In some cases, eating may be made more difficult. Try your best to eat a healthy diet to ensure that your body gets the essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to heal. During your treatment and recovery, it is also important that you keep your mouth clean, so good oral hygiene practices are imperative.
Your recovery after treatment depends upon the type of treatment you have received. In the treatment of more advanced stages, reconstruction or rehabilitation may be necessary to restore your abilities to eat and speak properly. After your treatment, it is important that you have regular follow-ups. This will help to ensure that the cancer was effectively treated and that all of the cancer has been removed from your body.
With routine dental exams, we can detect the earliest warning signs of oral cancer before you ever notice that there is a problem. In detecting oral cancer early, we can help you get the treatment you need right away, increasing your chances of making a full recovery. For more information on oral cancer screenings, and to schedule your next dental exam, call Metropolitan Dental Specialty Group at (301) 585-0400 today.