Oral cancer is a dangerous and deadly disease that affects thousands of people each year. The most common symptoms of oral cancer are lumps, sores or patches anywhere in the mouth. These symptoms can become so painful that you may have difficulty swallowing and chewing properly. While tobacco use greatly increases your risk of developing oral cancer, anyone can get the disease. Early diagnosis is key to treating oral cancer, which is why you need to get regular oral cancer exams.
An oral cancer exam is a routine checkup that can be performed by our dentist during one of your appointments. This exam is non-invasive and only takes a few minutes, so nothing should stop you from getting it during your appointment. Since our dentists are trained to spot anomalies in the mouth, they will be able to diagnose almost every case of oral cancer.
The oral cancer exam may begin with the dentist asking you about your smoking and drinking habits. You may also have to list the prescription medications you take on a regular basis. These questions will let them know if you are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
Our dentist will also inspect the outside of your mouth for any signs of the disease. He may use both hands to feel under your jaw and on the side of your neck. This jaw and neck inspection is to look for suspicious lumps. The inside of your mouth will also be checked. If you wear dentures, then you will be required to remove them at this time.
The dentist will examine your lips and cheeks. Oral cancer commonly develops in these hard-to-see areas as red or white patches. You will also be asked to stick out your tongue. Oral cancer is known to create an abnormally colored or swollen tongue. The dentist will gently turn your tongue over to reveal the underside and base.
The dentist will also check the roof and floor of your mouth. The back of your throat will also be examined, in addition to the salivary glands and the gums.
The oral cancer exam may seem like it has a lot of steps, but it will only take a few minutes to complete. You should make sure to get checked for oral cancer at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry at least twice a year. If you find something suspicious at any time, you should get it immediately checked out as well. We have offices in Champions Gate and Winter Haven. Contact us today to schedule your oral cancer exam.