Oral Cancer Screenings – Juno Beach, FL
How a Few Minutes Can Save Your Life
When preparing for your six-month checkup and cleaning, you likely assume your hygienist will remove the plaque tartar built up around your teeth and gums, and your dentist will quickly examine your oral cavity for any signs of tooth decay. While this assumption is not incorrect, an additional step is taken when the team at Juno Beach Smiles sits down to take a look at your smile. With an oral cancer screening, we can easily detect problem areas and refer you to a specialist for further examination. Although the potential for oral cancer might seem scary, our team can raise your chances of successful treatment should any abnormalities be found. Contact our office today to learn more about the importance of oral cancer screenings and how to schedule your next appointment.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that more than 50,000 individuals living in the United States will have a dental cavity or be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer in 2020. Additionally, more than 10,000 will lose their life to oropharyngeal cancer.
To avoid becoming a statistic, it is strongly recommended that you seek regular dental care and have an oral cancer screening performed by our team of professionals before symptoms occur. Some of the signs you should watch for include:
- Lumps or areas of hard tissue
- Red/white patches inside your mouth
- Bad breath
- Oral sores that do not heal
- Difficulty opening and closing your mouth
- Sore throat or sounding hoarse
- Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
- Tongue pain
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Loose teeth
While some symptoms can cause pain, many patients may be completely unaware until they see a dental professional and undergo an oral cancer screening.
What Does My Dentist Look for During a Screening?
When meeting with Dr. Riley or Dr. Keuning, you can expect they will be looking for any abnormalities that may appear in your oral cavity. Typically, there is a visual and physical exam that involves looking at your face, neck, lips, and other facial structures to check for any obvious changes or growths. We will likely ask you to “open wide” so that we can view the back of your throat.
It is during the visual exam that your dentist may begin to touch your head, cheeks, jaw, and neck area to feel for any lumps that may be clear indicators of oral cancer. If there appears to be nodules or masses, we will check to see if it feels mobile or if it is securely attached.
What to Expect During My Screening?
The screening process takes only minutes and is completely painless. In most cases, you’ll likely be given the “all clear” by our team; however, should there be a cause for concern, you can expect we will refer you to a specialist who will examine your oral cavity more extensively and determine if there is a need for a formal diagnosis.
If for any reason, you are diagnosed with oral cancer, you can trust that Dr. Riley and Dr. Keuning will work closely with your medical doctors to provide the highest-quality care possible. Fortunately, by continuing to seek regular dental checkups and cleanings by the team at Juno Beach Smiles, we can mitigate the potential for advanced oral cancer with early detection.