Our Ann Arbor dentists recommend that you receive an oral cancer screening at least once a year. During the painless screening, your mouth will be checked for the onset of certain forms of oral cancer. A prompt detection can potentially prevent the cancer from worsening and could save your life.
An oral cancer screening is so fast that before you know it, it’s over and we can continue with your routine dental checkup. Our doctors simply need to visually assess your mouth (lips, tongue, and gums) and throat for red or white patches and or sores.
Should we find anything abnormal, we will collect cells from the area in question using a brush test. The sample will then be sent to a lab where it can be further analyzed and results will be discussed one-on-one with you after they are received.
Oral cancer screenings have been proven to increase the survival rate of oral cancer to 80% or better. Visiting our office every 6 months for a dental cleaning will allow us to catch oral cancer early on and help you avoid worsening symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Oral Cancer
If you recognize any symptoms of oral cancer, schedule an appointment with our doctors as soon as possible.
Warning signs of possible oral cancer include:
- Noticeable lumps, bumps, or rough spots on the lips, gums, or other areas of the mouth.
- Velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth.
- Unexplained bleeding inside of the mouth.
- Unexplained ear pain.
- Sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and don’t heal.
- Soreness in the throat.
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing.
- Difficulty speaking or moving the jaw and or tongue.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Certain habits or lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for developing oral cancer. Risk factors do not immediately equate to an oral cancer diagnosis, however, but they do increase your chances.
Common risk factors are:
- Use of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco or dip)
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- History of oral cancer in your family
- High sun exposure
- Being a male over the age of 45
- Poor oral hygiene or diet
- Exposure to the HPV virus
There is still a chance that you could develop oral cancer even if you do not identify with any of the above risk factors.Continuing to participate in regular dental checkups with our doctors is crucial when it comes to oral cancer detection.
Request an Oral Cancer Screening
Oral health is directly tied to the health of your entire body. If you have noticed abnormal symptoms that resemble oral cancer or you fit into one of the risk groups listed above, it’s important to be screened. Our Ann Arbor area dentists are happy to conduct an oral cancer screening for you.
To schedule an appointment with us, call (734) 929-9999 or contact us online.