Why are oral cancer screenings important?
As stated above, oral cancer is one of the lesser talked about cancers, and yet, more people die from the disease than from some of the more well-known cancers. Oral cancer is usually treatable when caught early, and the screening process is both painless and simple. Even if you have no symptoms, it is important to keep your regular dental checkup appointments so that your dentist can catch any problems that arise as quickly as possible.
What is involved in an oral cancer screening?
Screenings are simple, and take place during your regular dental exam and cleaning appointment. Your dentist will examine your cheeks, tongue, and gums for any unusual bumps, sores or irregular tissue in your mouth. They will also check for any unusual symptoms in your mouth, face or head that may indicate a problem. If your dentist does find anything of concern, they will usually perform a biopsy using an oral brush. This will help them determine if any further tests should be carried out.
What are the symptoms of oral cancer?
You should schedule an appointment to have an oral cancer screening if you are experiencing bleeding in the mouth, numbness in the mouth and throat or spot sores in the inner cheeks or gums that do not heal within one to two weeks.
Other symptoms of oral cancer include red or white patches on the inner cheek or gums, difficulty swallowing, ear pain, reduced jaw mobility or teeth that suddenly do not align well. Remember, oral cancer symptoms may not be localized to the mouth area. In many patients, the throat is also affected, and you may feel as if you have a sore throat or as if something is caught in your throat.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if you are due for your bi-annual cancer screening, please call Buckner Family Dental today at 214-328-3595 to schedule your appointment.