Every year, over 40,000 patients will be diagnosed with a form of oral or pharyngeal cancer, and this year the estimations are as high as over 48,000. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.” That’s why here at Tharp & Klaus Dental Clinic, we strongly believe that patients should be regularly screened by their dental care provider to look for the warning signs. Thanks to advanced technology, we are becoming more adept at identifying warning signs of oral cancers, so that patients can be treated sooner.
Typically, an oral cancer screening is done while you’re sitting in the examination chair at your dentist’s office. Sometimes they are done before or after a hygiene cleaning, as part of the process.
The dentist will feel around your jaw, under your chin, and along your upper neck area for any unusual lumps or lesions. Additionally, they will examine your gums, tongue, under your tongue, cheeks, and upper palate of your mouth for any lumps or lesions. Oral cancer may also appear as white or black discolored spots as well. If there are no surface signs of oral cancer, your dentist may utilize a specialized black-light that shows any discolored tissues or growths that are hiding under the skin.
If something is found, your dentist may refer you to a medical specialist for further diagnosis or treatment. Even though cancer must be treated with a specialist, the dentist is often the first line of defense at noticing the warning signs of oral cancer.
In the past, oral cancer was difficult to diagnose in its early stages, due to the lack of knowledge about warning signs or lack of screening techniques. However, we now have the experience to spot problem areas and screen patients better.
During an oral screening with your dental care provider, they’ll be looking out for warning signs like the following symptoms:
Cancer in any form can develop in a number of ways, and there’s no definitive way to predict what can cause oral cancer. However, there are a few vices and habits that have been known to increase your risk for oral cancer here in Jackson, MS.
While there is no way to predict how oral cancer can occur, there are steps you can take to be healthier and decrease your risk.
If you’re at home and noticing some unusual lumps, discoloration, or pain around your mouth, feel free to schedule a visit with us. Sometimes patients may think that pain in their mouth is due to simple reasons like accidentally biting their cheek, grinding their teeth, or temperature sensitivity. However, all of these symptoms could also point to changes happening in your oral health as well. It can be difficult to check your mouth for symptoms without the tools and monitoring systems of a dental office. Just to make sure that it’s not something more serious, it’s best to let us know about what you’re feeling, and find out the source of your discomfort. We’ll walk you through a screening, take x-rays of your smile, if need be, and help you uncover what’s causing the problem.
Now that you’ve seen why oral cancer screenings are so important for prevention, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with Tharp & Klaus Dental Clinic today. We can schedule you for routine hygiene cleanings and screenings to check for any warning signs of disease. We proudly serve patients in Jackson, MS and surrounding areas, so feel free to contact us today.
Consult with Dr. Tharp & Dr. Klaus whether you need teeth cleaning, oral screening, or restorative dental care in Jackson, MS. You can trust our team to deliver quality dental services that will leave you with a smile on your face. We believe that each and every patient that walks through our door deserves a great smile, and we’ll work with you to find the treatments that fit your needs. During our consultations, you’ll be able to ask your questions one-on-one, get evaluated, and learn more about the ins and outs of your dental treatment.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today; you deserve a beautiful brilliant smile.