Having your annual to bi-annual checkup with your dentist means checking for developing problems. While gum disease and tooth decay are the most immediate problems to come to mind, our team can be your first line of defense against more serious conditions such as oral cancer. At Buckhead Dental Group, we can provide oral cancer screenings, which provide numerous benefits that can be potentially life-saving.
Oral cancers can come in many forms, and all of them pose serious threats to your health if they’re left untreated. Oral cancers can first form as a sore or growth that doesn’t heal right away and can be located on any area of the mouth, including the cheeks, tongue, lips, and palate areas. Without proper diagnosis, these small sores and lumps can become life-threatening, spreading to other areas of the body.
Getting diagnosed and treated early is essential. Our patients are screened for oral cancers through a complete analysis of their current conditions, medical history, and other symptoms. When reviewing your medical history, you will be asked about any potential risk factors you may have that could correlate to oral cancer, including alcohol consumption and smoking. Alongside tracking your medical history, your cancer screening will include looking for symptoms such as:
- Bumps, lumps, eroded areas, crusts, or rough spots
- Speckled white-and-red patches with a velvety texture.
- Unexplained oral bleeding not caused by periodontal disease
- Tenderness, pain, or numbness in parts of the neck, mouth, or face
- Facial sores that have not healed within two weeks and bleed easily.
- Feeling of objects in the back of the throat and soreness.
- Issues with speaking, swallowing, and chewing
- Persistent hoarseness or sore throat
- Changes in “bite” or tooth alignment
- Unexplained weight loss
When noticing these signs, our team will be proactive with your dental care by performing additional tests, including oral cancer screening dyes and light, to search for and locate signs of abnormal cell growth. If our dentists discover any signs, then our dentists will continue with screening tests with a follow-up visit and a biopsy procedure, where our dentists submit a small sample of your condition to our cooperating dental laboratory for further analysis. These symptoms require immediate action, and in cases of oral cancer, our dental team will work with your medical care providers to provide an extensive care and treatment plan.
While oral cancer screenings cannot detect all mouth cancers, finding cancers early enough can significantly reduce the number of deaths caused by oral cancer. Our oral cancer screenings may lead to additional tests and may lead to recommendations to oncologists for further examination. However, our tests can provide you with the means to protect your oral health and future. For more information about our oral cancer screening methods, please get in touch with Buckhead Dental Group to learn more.