Oral Cancer Screenings

At Sandwich Dental Associates, we take our role in your overall health very seriously. Your dental specialists provide more than diagnostic x-rays and a thorough cleaning during every standard dental exam. We also do a possibly life-saving oral cancer test, with the goal of detecting cancer early enough to dramatically improve the odds of a full recovery.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral or mouth cancer most often manifests itself as a persistent growth or sore in the mouth or throat. Symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Patches of red or white on the lips or tongue line 
  • Inside the mouth, there is swelling or thickening. 
  • Bleeding that isn’t being explained 
  • Unhealing sores on the face, neck, or mouth 
  • Sore throat that persists 
  • Hoarseness 
  • A change in the fit of your dentures

What Is an Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screenings consist of a variety of tests and steps, including:

  • A complete examination of your oral and overall health histories, with questions, to assist determine your risk for mouth cancer.
  • A visual examination of the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, the floor of the mouth, the roof of the mouth, and far-back section of your tongue in order to find any abnormalities, such as sores and red or white patches; this inspection includes the lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, the floor of the mouth, the roof of the mouth, and far-back section of your tongue. 
  • Palpate your mouth, jaw, and neck for any suspicious lumps.

Even while most sores (one of the most common indications of oral cancer) aren’t malignant, screening alone can’t tell. If an abnormality is discovered, your dentist may perform a biopsy (a procedure in which cells are removed for examination) or refer you to a mouth cancer specialist.

FAQ

How often should I be screened for oral cancer?
You should be screened at every routine dental visit.
If I am found to have mouth cancer, what do I do?
If you are diagnosed with cancer, your dentist will refer you to a specialist so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
How do you treat oral cancer?
If you are diagnosed with cancer, you will be sent to a doctor who specializes in treating oral cancer. Treatment typically consists of removal of the cancerous growth followed by radiation or chemotherapy treatment.

Maintaining your routine dental visits with us ensures your smile continues to sparkle, but it also vastly improves the chance that abnormalities in your mouth will be caught early, which increases your chances of successful treatment should any be cancerous.

Call 508.888.4400 today to learn more about how Sandwich Dental Associates can protect your oral health, and to schedule an appointment with your Sandwich, MA dentist!