oral cancer screeningOral Cancer Screening

Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, but we are also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like many kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.

We have the skills and tools, such as the OralID, to ensure that early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. While these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is very important to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer.

Risk factors for oral cancer

Many people associate oral cancer with age, or people who are heavy drinkers or that use tobacco. However, oral cancer can strike anyone of any age. That is why it is important to receive an oral cancer screening during your dental checkups. However, certain risk factors can increase your risk of developing oral cancer.

These risk factors include:

  • Heavy consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Using tobacco (chewing)
  • Prolonged sun exposure (without any skin protectant)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Age and gender (men over the age of 45 have an increased risk)
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Weakened immune system

Symptoms of oral cancer

Like many different types of cancer, oral cancer may not produce noticeable symptoms until the later stages, which is why routine oral examinations that include an oral cancer screening are essential. However, if you notice any of the symptoms below, contact Triangle Periodontics immediately.

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
  • A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
  • A lump, thickening, or rough spot
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue

How is oral cancer diagnosed?

Our team is trained to use the OralID in a simple, quick screening that involves an examination of your oral cavity as a whole, and not just your teeth. OralID’s fluorescence technology uses a blue light that allows a clinician to identify oral cancer, pre-cancer, and other abnormal lesions at an earlier stage. If we find an area of concern, we may recommend a biopsy for further testing.

Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening in our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer.

  • The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
  • Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips
  • Practice good oral hygiene and receive routine dental examinations that include an oral cancer screening

During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment.

To learn more about oral cancer screenings, call Triangle Periodontics at 919-782-9536 to schedule a consultation.

Triangle Periodontics welcomes patients of Apex, Cary, and Raleigh, North Carolina.