Oral Cancer Screening in Buffalo, NY
Experienced Buffalo Dentists Providing Comprehensive Oral Cancer Screenings
“Cancer” is a word that no one wants to hear, but it is an ailment that can affect anyone. Oral cancer can occur in most areas of the mouth, such as the teeth, the gums, the tongue, the lips, the cheeks, and the maxillary arch (the roof of the mouth).
Though any individual can develop this type of cancer, it has a higher incidence in individuals who engage in regular practices that are damaging to oral health. Chewing tobacco, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, inadequate nutrition and malnourishment, and the use of improperly fitting dentures (which can cause persistent irritation) can all spur the development of oncogenes, or cancer cells. Infection from the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also contribute to various cancers, including oral cancer. The early signs of oral cancer are often difficult to detect by the average person, but a closer inspection from a dentist can determine whether oral cancer has begun to take root.
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Perhaps the most visible sign of oral cancer is the appearance of red and/or white patches. These patches may resemble whiteheads surrounded by inflamed skin, or they may appear as irregularly shaped regions with an average diameter of one or more inches. Erythroplakia (red patches), leukoplakia (white patches), and erythroleukoplakia (patches of both colors) may have other causes, but the incidence of them developing into oral cancer is particularly high. Other common telltale symptoms include the appearance of ulcers or sores that do not heal after two weeks, unusual swelling, numbness in the tongue, inexplicable and sudden looseness of the teeth, and difficulty swallowing. If you have any of these symptoms, it is critical that you consult your dentist immediately.
Oral cancer screenings from your dentist are rather quick to perform, as dentists are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of the earliest stages of disease. The entire process should last no more than five minutes, and your dentist will rely only on simple equipment such as gauze, gloves, and mirrors to complete the exam. The first step involves your dentist asking you about your medical history as well as any symptoms that you may have begun to experience. A family history of certain cancers or lifestyle choices can suggest to your dentist that you are at a naturally higher risk of developing this disease. Your dentist will then peer into your mouth and esophagus, using tools to inspect the gum line, the rear portions of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the underside of your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your tonsils. Your dentist may also survey the area around the root of your tongue and manually examine your neck and jaw for nodules or other worrisome indications of cancer.
Merely because your dentist finds something that appears abnormal, it does not necessarily follow that you have developed oral cancer. Further diagnostic examinations will have to be performed by specialists in order to rule cancer in or out. Sometimes a potentially cancerous nodule or ulcer may in fact be a benign lesion. However, it is only through examination by a specialist in oncology that the presence of oral cancer can be definitively proven.
FAQ About Oral Cancer Screening
How Do They Test for Oral Cancer?
There are different ways to test for oral cancer. They can do a physical exam of your mouth and lips to see if they notice any abnormalities. Any signs of irritation such as white patches or sores. They can also do a biopsy which means they will remove a sample of your cells and it is sent off to be analyzed.
What Do Early Stages of Mouth Cancer Look Like?
Early stages of mouth cancer do not usually have any pain. The appearance usually comes off as very flat patches. There are canker sores that can look like ulcers. There is usually a depression that can be seen in the center. When the canker sore is abnormal you may notice it is yellow, white or gray in color along with having red along the edges.
Can A Dentist Tell If You Have Mouth Cancer?
According to the American Cancer Society your dentist may be able to detect early signs of oral cancer. There are many oral cancers and precancers that are found when someone is having their routine screening exams done by a dental hygienist, doctor, dentist or even a self-exam.
How Much Is an Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening cost around $35 to $65. It all depends on your dentist though, there are some dentists who do not charge extra for oral cancer screenings. If you have any lesions that may be suspicious your dentist may ask you to come back in about two weeks to see if there has been any improvement.
Does Mouth Cancer Show Up in Blood Tests?
It is not possible to diagnose mouth cancer through blood tests. Your doctor may still order blood work to get an idea of how you are doing overall with your health.
Can You Die from Mouth Cancer?
If you suffer from oral cancer and are not diagnosed in time it can spread and be fatal. If you are not diagnosed early enough the outcome may not be what you’re wanting it to. Prevention to the best of your ability along with early detection and treatment is key.
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Schedule an appointment with Teach Dental Group today! Our experienced Buffalo dentists have provided oral cancer screening for patients throughout Buffalo and the Southtowns for over 40 years.
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