Our office is not only dedicated to your smile, we’re also dedicated to your overall wellness. We take a holistic approach to your dental care, which includes an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like other kinds of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
We have the skills and tools to identify early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and pre-cancerous conditions. Although these symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it is crucial to visit our office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Our team is trained in a simple, quick screening that involves a three-part oral cancer screening at your initial and yearly exams.
The first part is a thorough visual exam: checking the gums, tongue, and all soft tissues for lesions. Second, Dr. Webb feels the soft tissues for any lumps or irregularities.
Lastly, she examines the tissue with the VELscope®, a device designed specifically for the mouth that shines a fluorescent light. Since normal tissue fluoresces and abnormal tissue doesn’t, Dr. Webb is able to detect any inflammation or possible pathology.
If we find an area of concern, we may refer you to an oral surgeon for a biopsy.
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer.
- The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid all tobacco products and only drink alcohol in moderation.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always wear UV-A/B-blocking, sun-protective lotions on your skin as well as your lips.
- During your next dental appointment, ask us to perform an oral exam. Early detection of oral cancer can improve the chance of successful treatment.