Our office is not only dedicated to your smile; we’re also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like other cancers, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
We have the skills and tools to identify early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and pre-cancerous conditions. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Our team is trained in a simple, quick screening that involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth, to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions. Besides a visual examination of your mouth, we will also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to detect any abnormalities.
If we find an area of concern, we may perform a simple test, such as a brush test, which collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer.
- The best way is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.
- During your next dental appointment, ask Dr. Barker to perform an oral exam. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment.