At Tarpon Shores Dental, Dr. Shanaka and our team want to help you have a great smile and better overall health, too. We know that when it comes to any type of health condition, the earlier it’s found, the better. And oral cancer is no exception! Fortunately, getting screened is easy because it’s automatically included in your checkups with us. If it’s been a while since your last visit, give us a call to schedule an appointment. These screenings take just minutes and are easier than you might think!
Oral cancer refers to any cancer that occurs in the oral cavity or throat. This includes the tongue, lips, cheeks, roof or floor of the mouth, and the back of the throat. Many people know that using tobacco is a risk factor, but there are many others as well:
Also, it’s important to note that oral cancer can still develop even when none of these risk factors are present.
An oral cancer screening in St. Armands is fast and easy. In fact, you’ve probably had one in the past without even realizing it! They’re recommended twice per year and are always done during your checkups and cleanings.
Dr. Shanaka and our hygienist will both visually inspect all the soft tissues in your mouth and throat to look for anything abnormal such as red or white lesions or thick, callous-like tissue. They may also gently palpate your neck and under your chin to check for any lumps or tender areas.
Also, here are some possible signs of oral cancer to be aware of between visits:
If Dr. Shanaka finds anything suspicious, he’ll either diagnose it as something harmless (such as a cold sore or lump of fatty tissue), ask you to return in two weeks for another look, or refer you to a specialist for another opinion.
Sadly, an estimated 50,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed every year. But the good news is that the survival rate is 85%-90% when it’s found early. Modern treatment is more effective than ever, but it has a greater chance of success in the beginning stages of the disease.
As a dentist in St. Armands, we truly have your best interests at heart. We know how important these life-saving screenings are, so we encourage everyone to come see us twice a year.