Oral Cancer Screening in Boca Raton, FL

Oral cancer is a serious condition that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. It is one of the most common types of cancer and affects thousands of people each year, but regular dental checkups with oral cancer screenings can detect early symptoms and allow for quick and effective treatment.

Dental Care of Boca Raton provides the most advanced screening methods to ensure early detection and help you get an accurate diagnosis.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects any part of the mouth, including the tongue, lips, gum tissue, and throat. It can be caused by tobacco use or chronic alcohol consumption, but it can also arise from viral infections or genetic predisposition to the disease. There are several symptoms associated with oral cancer, such as difficulty swallowing, delayed healing of sores in the mouth, lumps or pain in areas of the mouth, changes in taste sensation, and white patches or red bumps in the mouth. Treatment options usually involve chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which can be successful if detected early enough.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Common risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco products)
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet
  • HPV
  • Family history of cancer
  • Sun exposure without sunscreen

Men and those who are over the age of 35 are also at a higher risk for developing oral cancer.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Regular screenings allow our dentist to detect any warning signs of pre-cancer or cancer as early as possible so it can be diagnosed and treated before it becomes severe. If you notice any of the following signs, you should contact our office immediately and request a screening.

  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Oral pain
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Rough patches inside the mouth
  • Pain in the lymph nodes
  • White patches or red patches on the tongue, lips, or gums
  • Sore throat
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Oral Cancer Screening Procedure

When you come in for a screening, the dentist may perform one or more of the following diagnostic tests.

  • Oral cavity exam: our dentist will perform a visual inspection to look for anything that doesn’t look like normal tissue that may indicate signs of early-stage cancer, such as lesions in your mouth or throat, white patches on the tongue or gums, or red or inflamed areas of the gums.
  • Palpation: our dentist will do a physical exam by using gloved fingers to feel around in the oral cavity for bumps or lumps that may not be apparent with a visual exam.
  • Screening dye: the dentist may use a special dye or screening light to help detect oral cancer symptoms. The light will make healthy oral tissue look dark, and unhealthy tissue look white, making it easier to detect.

Additional Procedures

If our dentists detect any signs of cancer, additional tests, which may include:

  • Tongue scraping: The dentist will scrape the surface of your tongue to check for abnormal tissues and then send the scrapings to a lab where they will be further examined.
  • Biopsy: Your dentist may also request a biopsy of the lymph nodes or cheek tissue, which will be sent to a lab for testing.

Preventive Tips

Oral cancer can’t always be prevented, but there are some things you can do to lower your risk.

1Don’t smoke or use tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or vape pens.

2Do not consume excessive amounts of alcohol. If you are a heavy drinker, consult with your doctor about ways to cut down on alcohol use.

3Prioritize your oral health by getting regular dental exams and cleanings.

4If your family has a history of oral cancer or any other types of cancer, tell your dentist so they can conduct screenings more frequently.

Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening in Boca Raton, FL Today!

Oral cancer screenings are imperative to catching cancer in its earliest stages, significantly increasing your survival rate. Contact our dental office today to schedule your oral cancer screening in Boca Raton, FL.