Oral Cancer Screening
At StoneRidge Dental Care, we take a whole-patient approach to dental care that focuses not just on keeping a patient’s teeth and gums healthy, but the entire body, too. In addition to promoting general wellness with preventative and restorative dental care, we provide oral cancer screenings during every routine hygiene appointment.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer refers to any abnormal growth of cancerous cells in the oral cavity or mouth. It includes cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, hard and soft palates, jaws, gums, and throat.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Lumps or bumps
- Changes in the texture of soft tissues in or around the mouth
- Sores that don’t heal or go away on their own
- White, red, or white and red colored patches in the mouth
- The feeling of having something caught in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexplained hoarseness or lost voice
- Bad breath
- Pain in the mouth, throat, face, or ears
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Why Is It Important to Screen for Oral Cancer?
Like all types of cancer, oral cancer is more easily and successfully treated when detected and treated early. Although regular oral cancer screening is not required by any official medical protocol, StoneRidge Dental performs routine oral cancer screening as an added precaution in preserving our patients’ overall health.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Over 50,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States each year. Certain risk factors make an individual more likely to develop oral cancer. These include:
- Tobacco use of any kind
- Excessive alcohol use
- Swishing regularly with a mouthwash that contains alcohol
- A previous oral cancer diagnosis
- Significant sun exposure
Additionally, individuals over the age of 40 are more likely to be diagnosed with oral cancer. Men are twice as likely as women to receive an oral cancer diagnosis.
What To Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
During an oral cancer screening, our dental professionals visually examine your oral cavity, looking for abnormalities, as well as feeling your soft tissues, neck, and jawline for abnormalities.
If anything unusual is detected, we then talk with you about further steps, such as diagnostic testing, biopsy, and/or follow-up appointments.
Advanced Oral Cancer Screening at StoneRidge Dental Care
In addition to looking and feeling for abnormalities, we offer an enhanced oral cancer screening using a VELscope. The VELscope is a tool equipped with a special fluorescent light designed to aid in the early detection of abnormal tissues and cancerous lesions in the oral cavity that might not be visible to the naked eye.
With the VELscope, we can perform incredibly thorough oral cancer screenings, helping patients detect the earliest signs of potential concern and seek further evaluation with their primary care providers or an oncologist.
To learn more about the importance of oral cancer screening or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Conkey, Dr. Moberger, or Dr. Patel, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Gahanna today.