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Oral Cancer Screenings: What Patients Should Know About the Process

By markplatt on October 09, 2014


A woman undergoes a dental examWe at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates take all kinds of dental health conditions very seriously. With offices in Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy, we have been able to help so many people throughout Alabama achieve total wellness and overcome even the most serious issues affecting their wellness.

Screenings for various kinds of oral pathology and mouth cancers are crucial for ensuring lasting dental health. We'd like to focus on the issue of oral cancers right now so you understand what they involve and warning signs of which you should be aware.

Types of Oral Cancers

There are many different kinds of oral cancers that may occur. Some of them include the following:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Verrucous carcinoma
  • Lymphomas
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Adenoid cystic cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma

Squamous cell carcinoma tends to make up the vast majority of oral cancers. This involves any sort of abnormalities that affect the squamous cells that line the mouth and/or the throat.

Potential Signs of Oral Cancer

The most likely sign of any kind of oral cancer tends to be abnormal growths in the mouth occurring on the tongue, the lips, the gums, and so forth. Keep an eye out for any particularly large or odd sores that develop. Discomfort and pain associated with a sore or growth is also worth considering. In many cases, the sores will last for more than a week or so without any sign of dissipating.

You should also note any issues with moving your tongue, difficulty swallowing, and any kinds of persistent burning or irritation of the tissues of the mouth.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancers

Smoking and the use of tobacco products are associated with around three-quarters of oral cancer cases. This is just another compelling reason to avoid smoking and the use of tobacco products or quit if you are a current user. People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol are also more likely to suffer from oral cancer.

People who contract human papillomavirus (HPV) are also at greater risk for developing oral cancer of some kind. The same is true for patients who undergo hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as they tend to be at greater risk for squamous cell carcinoma.

Routine Checkups Provide Basic Screenings for Sores and Abnormalities

During your routine dental exams held twice a year, your dentist may be able to spot abnormal growths or sores while checking your teeth an gums as he or she usually would. X-rays and other diagnostic tests may similarly identify potentially serious health problems.

If you should note any of the symptoms noted above, be sure to bring them up with your dentist during your visit. Should the symptoms seem especially pronounced, be sure to contact a dental care professional right away in order to get checked out.

Advanced Testing Is Necessary for Accurate Cancer Detection

If there is a sore or an abnormal growth found in your mouth, it will be examined closer. Sometimes special dyes will be used to determine if a sore of growth is actually cancerous or denotes another kind of health issue.

Initiating Treatment as Needed

Once the nature of the sore or growth is identified, an actual treatment plan can be implements as needed. The type of oral cancer and the stage it is in will determine how your dentist or general practitioner will proceed with treatment. Just know that your dentist or doctor will always work in your best interests.

Learn More About Treating Major Dental Health Problems

If you suspect that you may have a serious oral health issue, it's important that you seek professional assistance as soon as possible. We encourage you to contact our dental care center today. The team at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates will be able to address diverse dental care needs and help you get the treatment that you need when it's needed most.

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