Oral Cancer Screening Portland OR
The American Dental Association recommends that you have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year (every six months). At Downtown Dental Care, we perform these cleanings and exams, helping you to maintain optimal oral health. During your oral exams, we check your mouth for signs of damage, decay, gum disease. Also, a part of your oral exam is an oral cancer screening, which we perform at every visit.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a serious health issue that impacts the functions of your mouth as well as your quality of life and your overall wellbeing. It can strike anywhere in the mouth, your lips, gums, tongue, cheeks, palate, floor, or the very back of the mouth near the entrance of the throat. This condition affects over 40,000 Americans every year. It affects the most basic functions of your mouth, including your abilities to eat and speak. If not detected and treated early, it can spread, and can even be fatal. Early detection and treatment is key to increasing your chances of restoring a healthy life.
What are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer?
There are many risk factors that can increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Some of these risks can be controlled, while others cannot.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
When we perform your oral exam, we do more than just check your teeth and gums. We inspect all tissues within your mouth, as well as the exterior of your mouth as well, checking for symptoms of oral cancer. However, oral cancer does not conveniently wait for your dental visits. It is important to know what symptoms to be on the lookout for. Common symptoms of oral cancer include red or white patches on your oral tissues, sores that won’t heal, unusual growths, changes in your bite, trouble chewing, swallowing or speaking, and numbness in the jaw.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Oral Cancer
The earlier oral cancer is treated, the greater your chances of removing the disease and getting back your oral, and overall, health. To accurately diagnose oral cancer, we must perform a thorough oral exam. Not only do we visually inspect the interior of your mouth, but we also look at your face and neck and take X-rays. Biopsies are also common procedures when it comes to diagnosing oral cancer. With a biopsy, we can confirm the presence of, or rule out oral cancer. Once we have made a definitive diagnosis, we can then begin treatment. Treatment may be as little as removing the lesion from your mouth, or more invasive treatments may be needed.
Oral cancer is a serious condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. If you notice any symptoms of oral cancer between your regularly scheduled visits, call Downtown Dental Care at (503) 420-7600 right away.