Oral Cancer Screening Bethesda, MD

At the Bethesda Dental Implant Center, we incorporate oral cancer screenings into our new patient exams and routine teeth cleaning appointments. Quick and painless, an 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 by the end of each year. 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.

Oral cancer is a growing health concern with cases rising annually around the globe. Although there are several contributing factors, one of the most important is the lack of routine screening. Sadly, a large percentage of diagnosed cases are late-stage disease which, if caught earlier, could have been largely curable.

The survival rate continues to hover around 50% due to the overall lack of screening that contributes to late-stage diagnosis.

Spotting oral cancer in the early stage is the key to a good prognosis for a cure. We perform an oral cancer screening during routine preventive dental care in an effort to find disease in the early stage and give patients the greatest chance for a full recovery.

It is also important to be aware of the common signs of oral cancer and understand the risks that certain lifestyle habits can present. Patients who use tobacco products of any kind have an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco products or have a family history of oral cancer, mention this to your hygienist and dentist so that we may educate you further on possible health concerns and be aware of your higher risk status.

Routine dental care not only supports a good quality of life but can be life-saving!

What To Expect With Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is quick and painless. Many patients do not even realize that their dentist has performed the screening while they did a thorough dental exam. Twice yearly visits with Bethesda Dental Implant Center for preventive dental care will enhance our ability to spot early signs of oral cancer as we develop a more in-depth knowledge of your oral health.

An oral cancer screening is a comprehensive visual examination, often aided by a special light that illuminates abnormal cells. Our dental care team will inspect the entire oral cavity and its surfaces including the inside of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, below the tongue, and the back of the throat. The dentist will also evaluate your 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
  • Hoarseness, or trouble speaking comfortably
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore or red/white patch in the mouth that does not heal
  • Lump in the back of the mouth or neck area

We always recommended getting tested by a Bethesda Dental Implant Center dentist before deciding if you have oral cancer. This worry-free process can be done on the day of your dental exam. Schedule a preventative dental care visit today.