Did you know that preventive dental care is essential for protecting your overall health? The professionals at Killeen Family Dentistry in Killeen, Texas encourage their patients to get regular checkups that consist of examining the mouth for signs of cancer and precancerous problems. If it’s been awhile since you and your family have had oral cancer screening, call the office for more information.
Oral cancer (or mouth cancer) can occur inside any part of the oral cavity, including the:
The National Cancer Institute estimates around 347,000 people live with this form of cancer. However, many of them don't even know they have it; something that seems like a sore or blister could be a sign of oral cancer.
That's why the dentists at Killeen Family Dentistry believe that oral cancer screening is a critical part of any dental exam including the ones for their youngest patients.
The symptoms will vary from patient to patient, but some common signs include:
Most people experience any one of the items on that list at some point in their life without having oral cancer. The key difference in the case of oral cancer is persistence. For example, any sore that lasts for longer than two weeks or recurs often needs further examination.
Anyone can get oral cancer, but some things might put a person at risk such as:
Researchers are still studying e-cigarettes and the risks involved with them, but they may also be a risk factor.
The goal is early detection. Basic screenings involve examining the tissue in the mouth for indications of cancer, like white patches or lesions. Your dentist will also use a gloved hand to feel inside the mouth for abnormal lumps. They also look for lesions that could be precancerous.
If your dentist finds something suspicious, more extensive testing is necessary to rule out cancer. For example, the staff at Killeen Family Dentistry might have you rinse your mouth with a special solution that makes abnormal masses appear white. In some cases, they might perform a biopsy to take a small sample of the cells for analysis.
You can learn more about Killeen Family Dentistry’s prevention and treatment options for oral cancer by booking an appointment with them today.