Oral cancer is mouth cancer, which can include the lips, tongue, throat, and other related areas. It affects more than 40,000 people each year. Early detection may lead to more favorable outcomes, and an oral cancer screening should be part of your health maintenance and prevention plan, similar to physicals, dental exams, and oral cleanings.
What to Expect
Oral cancer screenings are noninvasive and rely on the expert eyes and hands of an experienced dentist. As with any treatment, procedure, or exam in our dental office, our staff will make sure you’re relaxed and comfortable.
Here’s what to expect:
Patients at our Vallejo, CA dental office receive an oral cancer screening as part of their dental exam. During this screening, our skilled dentists look for the signs and symptoms of early oral cancer through a hands-on assessment and visual inspection of your mouth, throat, and lips.
They may request a biopsy or other diagnostic testing based on findings or schedule a follow-up visit to recheck a suspicious area or lesion. Sometimes a blue dye is used to give the dentist a better visual of your mouth.
What Are the Risk Factors?
A few factors increase your risk of developing oral cancer. However, sometimes oral cancer diagnoses are made in patients who have no known risk factors.
It’s important to remember that most lesions or abnormal mouth tissue turn out not to be cancer.
Risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Tobacco use—smoking and chewing
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive sun exposure to the face, especially the lips
- Prior cancer diagnosis, including oral cancer diagnosis
If you have risk factors for oral cancer, or if you have not had an oral cancer screening this year, please make an appointment with our dental office today. Early detection is key when it comes to oral cancer prognoses.