Oral cancer occurs when the cells in your mouth grow out of control, which can occur almost anywhere in your mouth. You may notice several symptoms during screenings for oral cancer, such as white or red patches in the mouth that do not go away after a couple of weeks, mouth sores that do not heal within a couple of weeks, and bleeding or pain while chewing.
During an oral cancer screening at Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry, our dentist will visually inspect your mouth to see if you have any signs of oral cancer. If they find any symptoms of oral cancer, they will recommend a treatment plan which may, at worst, include surgery.
The Symptoms of Oral Cancer
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw
- Growth in the mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal within a few weeks
- Small white or red spots in the mouth that are not sore or bleeding
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in the lips or face
- Swelling in the mouth
- Lumps in the neck
- Sores or lumps near the ears
- Unexplained weight loss
How Is an Oral Cancer Screening Done?
During an oral cancer screening at our dentist’s office, several parts of the mouth will be checked for abnormal or suspicious color, texture, shape, size, and position changes. In addition, the lymph nodes in the neck may be palpated to determine if any lumps are present. If abnormalities are detected during the screening, a small tissue sample will be taken for further testing in a laboratory. This can help your dentist determine if another treatment is necessary or if cancer is diagnosed.
If our doctor discovers that you have oral cancer after your screening, it is essential to seek immediate care. Some cases of oral cancer can be successfully treated when found early. Other cases, on the other hand, may not be curable. However, early detection can improve the prognosis by facilitating a more straightforward recovery process.
When detected early, treatment for oral cancer may involve surgery to remove the cancerous cells from the head and neck area. Radiation therapy may also be used to help eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be recommended to destroy any cells that may have broken off from the primary tumor.
How to Prevent Oral Cancer
Certain lifestyle choices can make a person more susceptible to developing oral cancer. It is important to avoid tobacco products and heavy alcohol use to decrease this risk. Regular dental checkups can also help keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent the development of oral cancer. If you are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer due to genetic factors, you may want to speak to our doctor about undergoing more frequent screenings.
If you are experiencing any symptoms related to oral cancer, visit Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry at 2 Coolidge St Suite 202, Hudson, MA 01749, or call (508) 658-0661 to schedule a consultation with our general dentist as soon as possible.