A biannual dental examination at Fort Bend Dental in Missouri City, TX, typically includes an oral cancer screening, helping us to detect the disease earlier. Patients at risk may receive more regular screenings, including those who smoke or have a family history of oral cancer. Because this disease is undetectable to the untrained eye, an in-depth screening using advanced technology can detect it in its earliest stages. When caught early, treatment is more manageable and patients have a greater chance of survival.
What is an Oral Cancer Screening?
During your routine screening, our doctors will use their hands to physically examine your head, face, and neck, feeling for any lumps or abnormalities. They will pay careful attention to your lymph nodes and salivary glands under the chin. Using state-of-the-art oral cancer screening technology, we will also look for any abnormal tissues inside your mouth. This light-based imaging stimulates the tissues, allowing us to identify oral cancer in the early stages. When oral cancer is present, the tissue will illuminate a different color, making for quick and effective diagnoses. If our doctors are concerned about a certain area, they will recommend a biopsy.
Why it is Important?
The early signs of oral cancer typically do not produce pain or obvious symptoms. This makes routine dental examinations and oral cancer screenings all the more important. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. Of those, the American Dental Association reports that just a little over 50 percent will survive to five years. An early diagnosis can help in timely treatment and improve your chances for survival.
If you are at higher risk for developing oral cancer, our team may recommend regular screenings to protect your long-term health.
Who is at Risk?
Although anyone can develop oral cancer, there are certain factors that can place you at greater risk. These can include genetics, lifestyle habits, age, gender, and other health concerns. Smokers, tobacco users, heavy alcohol consumers, and people who are exposed to prolonged levels of UV rays are more susceptible. Those with a family history of cancer, especially oral cancer, those over the age of 40, and males also face a higher risk of developing the disease. In addition, medical professionals have seen an increase in oral cancer in younger patients who have been diagnosed with human papillomavirus. If you are at higher risk for developing oral cancer, our team may recommend regular screenings to protect your long-term health.
Potential Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can develop within the soft tissues in and around the mouth, including the throat, tonsils, tongue, salivary glands, and lymph nodes. The early symptoms of oral cancer are often undetectable. Signs that develop later and are a sign of serious concern may include:
- Abnormal growths or lesions
- Sores or ulcers that do not heal
- Bad breath
- Red and white patches inside the mouth cavity
- Enlarged neck lymph nodes
- Mouth pain or numbness
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking
- Prolonged hoarseness
- Ear aches or jaw pain
- Unexplained weight loss
Regular screenings can help detect signs of oral cancer before these symptoms develop, protecting your oral and overall health.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening
If you face the risk factors for oral cancer, it is vital that you maintain routine dental examinations and oral cancer screenings every six months. Fort Bend Dental uses innovative technology that delivers results in a matter of minutes. Undergoing this screening can provide peace of mind and better health. To schedule your consultation, contact our office online today or give us a call at (281) 499-3541.