Oral Cancer Screening Specialist

Killeen Family Dentistry

Dentists located in Killeen, TX

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 Screening Q & A

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer (or mouth cancer) can occur inside any part of the oral cavity, including the:

  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Tongue
  • Lining of the cheeks
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Floor of the mouth

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.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?

The symptoms will vary from patient to patient, but some common signs include:

  • A sore that fails to heal
  • A sore that bleeds
  • A lump or thickening of the tissue
  • Loose teeth
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble chewing
  • Sore throat

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.

What are the risk factors for oral cancer?

Anyone can get oral cancer, but some things might put a person at risk such as:

  • Smoking or any tobacco use
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Previous oral cancer

Researchers are still studying e-cigarettes and the risks involved with them, but they may also be a risk factor.

What is oral cancer screening?

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.