At the Bethesda Dental Implant Center, we incorporate oral cancer screenings into our new patient exams and routine teeth cleaning appointments. Quick and painless, the oral cancer screening is essential for early detection. The prognosis for oral cancer is usually very good when intercepted early. Unfortunately, the death rate associated with oral cancer is especially high because it is not discovered until late in its development.
About Oral Cancer
Oral cancer is not a rare disease. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that more than 43,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2014. The most common causes of oral cancer are tobacco and alcohol use and HPV. Self exams and routine visits to the dentist are the best way to ensure that oral cancer is recognized as early as possible.
What To Expect With Oral Cancer Screening
An oral cancer screening is a comprehensive visual examination, often aided by a special light that illuminates abnormal cells. Dr. Eskow will inspect the entire oral cavity and its surfaces including inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, below the tongue and back of the throat. The dentist will also evaluate the face and lips to look for any signs of oral cancer.
Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Self diagnosis of oral cancer can be very difficult because lesions or lumps are often located under the tongue and there are generally no painful symptoms. Some of the more common warning signs include:
- Persistent mouth sores, usually lasting more than 2 weeks
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lumps in the mouth, throat or neck