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Oral Cancer Screening – Bonita Springs, FL

Your Regular Dental Checkup Could Save Your Life

Oral Cancer Ribbon

Oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the world; each year, nearly 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with the condition, and over 9,750 die as a result. While smoking and tobacco use can greatly increase your risk of developing cancer in the mouth, it can affect anyone at any age. At Pelican Landing Dental, we know that catching the disease early will give you the best chance of survival; that’s why we provide an oral cancer screening at each checkup.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral Cancer

Many of the signs connected to oral cancer might be confused with those of other health problems such as toothaches. In general, if symptoms persist for several weeks, you’ll need to see the dentist as soon as possible.

Common oral cancer symptoms include:

  • Persistent mouth pain or sores that don’t go away
  • Lumps in the cheek
  • Red and white patches that can form on the gums, tongue, tonsil or inner lining of the mouth
  • Feeling like something’s caught in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing or moving your jaw and tongue
  • Jaw swelling
  • Loosening of the teeth
  • Weight loss
  • Halitosis (bad breath)

What is a Dentist Looking for During a Screening?

Patient ready for exam

Your dentist will be looking for the physical signs of oral cancer so that they can be addressed as soon as possible. This includes any asymmetries, swellings, bumps, patches of colors or ulcerations as well as other problems with the mouth, neck, lips and face.

If we find signs of oral cancer, we can direct you towards a specialist who can confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment based on how advanced the condition is. The earlier it’s caught, the better chance there is of getting a favorable 5-year prognosis.

What to Expect During My Screening

Dentist examining patient

The first step is a physical exam that can take place while you’re sitting upright or laying down. You’ll be asked to remove any oral appliances you’re wearing before one of our dentists examines your mouth with a light and mirror. Like your general doctor, we may also use a tongue depressor to get a look at the back of your throat. There are other tools we can use to ensure a thorough, effective examination.

The dentist will then touch your head and cheeks, around your jaw, under your chin and in your oral cavity to see if they can feel any unusual masses. We may ask if this causes discomfort, as that could signal a problem with tissue mobility; you might also be asked to swallow.

Have you had an oral cancer screening along with a regular dental checkup in the past six months? If not, then now’s a perfect time to contact Pelican Landing Dental and set up an appointment!