Here at Providence Smiles, we do our best to always be aware of what is going on with your smile and provide preventive treatment to help you avoid harmful oral health issues later down the road, including oral cancer issues. We offer oral cancer screenings in Hillsborough, North Carolina, to keep your smile healthy for many years to come. Call us today to learn more and schedule a visit with our dentist, Dr. Kwame Gyampo. You can reach our dental team at 919-732-8179!

Oral cancer is the term used to describe cancer occurring in the lips, throat (pharynx), tongue, sinuses, cheeks, floor of the mouth, or hard and soft palate. When it is detected early, oral cancer can be successfully treated and has a high survival rate. Because it is often difficult for untrained eyes to detect the disease, however, most patients with oral cancer do not realize they have it until it has advanced into more serious stages, which are more difficult to treat. In the worst-case scenarios, oral cancer is a life-threatening condition. That is our team dedicates part of your dental check-ins examining your smile for signs of oral cancer, and it is why we do everything we can to help you catch potential oral cancer in its earliest stages.

Come of the symptoms of oral cancer that our team will be looking for are:

  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal for over two weeks
  • Unexplained numbness or pain in the face, ears, neck or mouth
  • A sore throat that won’t go away
  • The persistent feeling of something caught in the back of the throat
  • Lumps or rough spots on the gums, lips or mouth
  • Red, white or speckled red-and-white patches in the mouth
  • Sudden, unexplained changes to the way your teeth, dentures or oral appliances fit together
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing

Our team will be looking out for your smile every time you visit our office, and we will help you keep track of any areas that may need further screening, however, if you begin to notice any of the above symptoms or other unexplained dental problems or pain, please let us know as soon as possible. We can help you determine the source and create a treatment plan if any further action is needed.

Why Is Early Detection Important?

The simplest answer is that finding cancerous cells early increases your chance of successfully treating oral cancer, lengthening your life and helping you avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of the disease. The National Cancer Institute recommends regular oral cancer screenings even before you begin experiencing symptoms.

What Can I Expect From My Oral Cancer Screening?

An oral cancer screening is generally straightforward, and it consists of three parts.

  1. The Visual Exam — Our dentist will exam the face, neck, lips, jaws, cheeks, nose and mouth for any signs of unusual ulcerations, swelling, bumps, discoloration or bleeding.
  2. The Physical Exam — Our dentist will feel around the target areas to identify any unusual masses or patching though touch that may not be visible with sight alone.
  3. Further Testing — If our team finds anything suspicious in your smile, we may recommend further testing, such as an oral lesion screening using a specialized mouth rinse or an oral brush biopsy. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the tools we use for enhanced oral cancer screening.

What Happens if We Suspect Oral Cancer?

If our team has reason to believe abnormal cells in your mouth are cancerous, we fill help you find a doctor that can provide further testing and walk you through the potential treatment process.

To learn more about oral cancer screening, and to schedule your own screening with our team, call or visit our office and talk with a member of our team.