Your annual checkup isn’t just good for your smile. It might also save your life. Every exam is an opportunity to receive a screening for a particularly vicious form of cancer. Galloway Dental encourages all of our patients to undergo oral cancer screenings for their health and their peace of mind. This type of cancer is often overlooked, and this oversight can have deadly consequences.

What Are Indications Of Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a rapidly developing cell growth in tissues of the mouth, throat, lips, tonsils, and tongue. As this kind of cancer can hide in many places in the mouth, it is often not identified until it has progressed too far to be easily treated. Unfortunately, it has a high mortality rate, and recent trends show that cases of oral cancer are on the rise.

There are many factors that may put you at higher risk to develop oral cancer, including:

  • Use of tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Family history of cancer
  • Prior HPV-16 viral infection
  • Being a man over the age of 50

If one or more of these categories apply to you, you should ask for an oral cancer screening at your next appointment. Remember that multiple overlapping categories increase your risk even more, and you should remain vigilant to ensure you don’t develop any of the symptoms of oral cancer.

What Are The Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?

a woman at the dentist office about to undergo oral cancer screenings Early detection of oral cancer is crucial to surviving this harrowing disease. Since you can only get screened every so often, it is important to be aware of any symptoms that may indicate you are developing cancer.

Symptoms of oral cancer may include:

  • Unexplained pain or tenderness in the mouth
  • Long-lasting sores or lesions that don’t heal promptly
  • Sore throat or difficulty swallowing, and red or white patches inside the mouth
  • Bleeding of the mouth or gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Change in the fit of dentures or bridgework and change in bite or difficulty biting or chewing
  • Difficulty speaking or moving the lips, jaw, or tongue

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment as soon as possible to have an oral cancer screening. Keeping on a regular screening schedule if you have had any of these symptoms in the past is the best way to detect any instance of cancer early enough that it can receive treatment.

What You Can Expect From Your Oral Cancer Screenings in Mesquite, TX?

During your oral cancer screenings in Mesquite, TX, your dentist will examine the entire area of the oral cavity to check for any of the symptoms of cancer but also check for anomalies that you might not have noticed. They will also manually check with their gloved fingers to search for any indicators that may not be visible to the naked eye. 

If you have dentures, you will need to remove them so that you can have underlying tissues checked as well. Dental x-rays and additional testing using specialized equipment may be necessary to complete the examination. 

A common additional test includes the use of blue dye to differentiate healthy tissues in the mouth from those that may be cancerous. If the doctor finds anything that may indicate the presence of cancerous growth, a biopsy may be prescribed. Your dentist or another medical professional of your choosing may perform this. At this point, someone may refer an oncologist specializing in oral cancer for further treatment.

The team at Galloway Dental hopes that you will take this opportunity to have a screening and that you will be cleared of having this terrible disease. We perform cancer screenings in Mesquite, TX and would be happy to schedule an appointment for you. Give us a call at 469.273.1376 to make an appointment or inquire further about our services.