Every year, over 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer. Fortunately, when diagnosed early, oral cancers are usually treated easily. At Creating Smiles Dental in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida, Cindy Brayer DMD, PA, Phong Phane, DMD, and their team provide oral cancer screenings to help you monitor and protect your oral health. Call Creating Smiles Dental, or request an appointment online today if you’re due for a dental exam or are concerned about oral cancer.
Oral cancer occurs when abnormal cells multiply rapidly on your tongue, gums, tonsils, or other soft tissue in your mouth. When one of the dentists at Creating Smiles Dental diagnoses oral cancer in its early stages, you can get treatment quickly to destroy and remove all the abnormal cells. However, when left untreated, oral cancer can spread — metastasize — to other parts of your body.
Your genetics contribute to your risk of developing oral cancer. However, lifestyle choices like smoking, using chewing tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption also increase your chances of developing oral cancer. Additionally, you can also contract human papillomavirus in your mouth, which can also contribute to oral cancer.
Oral cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. For example, some of the warning signs of oral cancer include:
You might not notice any symptoms at all. The team at Creating Smiles Dental provides oral cancer screening during your routine dental exam to look for signs of abnormal tissue, even if you don’t notice any symptoms.
During an oral cancer screening, your dentist carefully examines the soft tissue in your mouth and throat. They look for sores, lumps, and other patches of abnormal tissue. Your dentist also asks about your lifestyle, including your alcohol and tobacco use.
Your dentist might offer information about the effects of using alcohol and tobacco on your oral health, including their contribution to your risk of oral cancer. They provide support and advice to help you eliminate risk factors and reduce your risk of oral cancer.
If your dentist finds abnormal tissue in your mouth, they take a biopsy — a sample of cells — and send it to pathology at the University of Florida for further testing. If your biopsy results are cancerous, your dentist provides a referral to an oncologist, and together they give surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation to remove and destroy any cancerous cells.
Call Creating Smiles Dental today, or request an appointment online for a comprehensive dental exam, including an oral cancer screening.