Oral Cancer Screenings

Tucson Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, sinuses, hard and soft palates, and phalanx (throat). While tobacco use and smoking are major factors in the development of oral cancer, any individual can be at risk for it, especially if they have a family history of cancer. When detected early, there is a much higher chance of overcoming oral cancer, which is why screenings are important. While other parts of the body usually present clear symptoms when something is not right, oral cancer, like other diseases of the mouth, is not always so conspicuous and may not be apparent until it has reached a more advanced stage, at which point it is more difficult to treat. Your dentist at Frank Son, DDS can perform an oral cancer screening to catch any potential problems with your oral health in Tucson, AZ.

Symptoms

Some common signs of oral cancer include:

  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Development of velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth
  • Swelling
  • Lumps or bumps
  • Rough spots on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing/swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way the teeth or dentures fit together

However, these symptoms may not always be present.

Screening

An oral cancer screening is typically performed as part of your routine dental exam. Your dentist will look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. He or she will start with a look over the inside of your mouth, checking for white or red patches and mouth sores. Using gloved hands, your dentist will also feel the tissues of your mouth to search for lumps and other abnormalities.

A more thorough test can be performed if you have a family history of oral cancer. A special rinse will be used which causes problem areas and abnormalities to appear darker than healthy areas when a special light is shone into the mouth. If your dentist suspects any problems, he or she may recommend a follow-up visit and/or biopsy.

To ensure that you have complete good oral health, schedule an exam at Frank Son, DDS in Tucson.