Over 49,000 Americans are affected by oral cancers every year, making proper diagnostic and preventive care crucial in identifying potentially life-threatening illnesses before their exacerbation. Shirley H. Bien, DMD, and the team at Greenhills Dental Care in Fremont, California, use cutting-edge diagnostic equipment to screen for oral cancers in men and women. To learn more about oral cancer screenings, call Greenhills Dental Care or schedule an appointment online today.

Oral Cancer Screenings Q & A

What are the first signs of oral cancer?

Oral cancer can develop anywhere in your mouth, including your lips, gums, tongue, cheek lining, or on the roof or floor of the mouth.

Identifying whether you’re suffering from oral cancer or simply experiencing discomfort can be difficult. That’s why Dr. Bien and the team at Greenhills Dental Care recommend that you track any of the following very carefully:

  • Slow-healing sores
  • Bleeding sores
  • Growth, lump, or thickening of the skin
  • Loose teeth
  • Dentures that no longer fit
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Chewing and swallowing difficulties

If any of the above have either worsened or stayed the same over long periods of time, get in touch with Greenhills Dental Care to schedule an oral cancer screening with Dr. Bien

What should I expect during an oral cancer screening?

An oral screening consists of many different elements. These include:

Extraoral examination

During an extraoral examination, Dr. Bien looks at the parts of your face that are outside the mouth:

  • Face: to search for asymmetry, masses, discoloring, and swelling
  • Eyes: to look for eye movement, swelling, and drainage
  • Ears and nose: to check the status of your sinuses, auricle health, and lesions
  • Neck: to check lymph node health, masses, swelling, and pain
  • Thyroid: to check your ability to swallow and for any potential swelling
  • Lips: to check symmetry, your ability to open and close your lips, texture, and color

Once Dr. Bien has completed these examinations, she'll proceed to the inside of your mouth.

Intraoral examination

To examine the inside of your mouth, Dr. Bien looks at:

  • Cheek lining: to check for texture and color irregularities, growths, and hidden masses
  • Tongue: to look for any movement issues, spasmodic behaviors, swelling, ulcerations, or masses
  • The floor of the mouth: to check for growths, inflammation, and sores
  • Tonsils: to look for growths, asymmetry, ulceration, and redness
  • Hard and soft palate: to check for white and red sports, asymmetry, loose teeth, and ulcerations

After completing an oral examination, Dr. Bien can recommend the most effective treatment based on your unique situation.

Are there any limitations of an oral cancer screening?

Since oral cancer screenings heavily rely on the identification of sores, it might be necessary for you to take additional tests should Dr. Bien determine that the identified sores aren’t enough to produce a diagnosis, as some sores are cancerous and some aren’t.

Oral cancer screenings don’t necessarily detect all kinds of mouth cancers, so there is a slight chance that a cancerous sore or growth can go unnoticed.

Schedule an appointment at Greenhills Dental Care by phone or online today to learn more about oral cancer screenings.

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