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Dental Arts of Frederick

Oral Cancer Screening


woman talking to doctorOral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, is the largest group of head and neck cancers. It refers to cancers that affect your lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, palate, and back of the mouth near the entrance of your throat. Untreated oral cancer can be fatal. Early detection is key for stopping cancer in its tracks and restoring the health of your mouth and your quality of life. At Dental Arts of Frederick, we can detect the early stages of oral cancer with an oral cancer screening.

Am I at Risk for Oral Cancer?


Oral cancer can affect anyone. There are, however, certain factors that can increase your risk. Common risk factors for oral cancer include:
•  Having a family history of oral cancer.
•  Your age. Older adults are at an increased risk.
•  Your sex. Men, particularly men over 55, are more likely than women to develop oral cancer.
•  Using tobacco products. Tobacco use is one of the greatest risk factors for oral cancer. Approximately 90% of oral cancer patients have smoked or used other forms of tobacco.
•  Alcohol consumption. Those who drink occasionally may not be at an increased risk, but those who drink large amounts are.
•  HPV. There are numerous strains of HPV or human papilloma virus. A small handful of these strains are linked to oral cancer, most notable HPV16.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?


The earliest stages of oral cancer are very difficult to detect. You might never know that there is anything wrong. For this reason, early stages of oral cancer often go unnoticed. By the time symptoms are noticeable, oral cancer has worsened and may have begun to spread, making it harder to treat. Symptoms of oral cancer include:
•  Strange growths in your mouth.
•  Lesions that will not heal.
•  Red or white patches on the soft tissues in your mouth.
•  Trouble eating, speaking or swallowing.
•  Changes in your bite or in the way your dentures fit.
•  Feeling a numb sensation in your chin or jaw.

How is an Oral Cancer Screening Done?


Oral cancer screenings are performed during your routine dental exams. You may not even know that we are looking for symptoms of this disease. As we look over your teeth and gums checking for tooth damage, decay, cavities, and gum disease, we also scan over the soft tissues in your mouth. We look for anything unusual, including growths, lesions, or other abnormal patches. We will also assess the alignment of your teeth and your bite. The entire screening is quick and completely painless.

What if an Abnormality is Found?


If we do find something unusual, you will be recommended for a closer examination. During this exam, we focus on the abnormality. We note its size, shape, and border. X-rays or other images of your mouth are taken. A soft tissue biopsy may also be recommended. This is a procedure that involves removing a small portion of the abnormality so that the tissue can be more closely examined under a microscope.

The tissue can be seen on the cellular level, allowing us to note the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells. If you are diagnosed with oral cancer, it may be recommended that the abnormality be removed. If necessary, you will also be recommended for further treatment.

Regular oral cancer screenings are essential for the early detection of oral cancer. For more information and to schedule your next dental exam, contact Dental Arts of Frederick today at 301-732-7277.

Hours


Monday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Providing prosthodontic and dental care in Frederick, Maryland, and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington DC.

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