Oral Cancer Screening
Dentists are some of the first people to spot oral cancer in its early stages during a general hygiene exam, so mouth and oral cavity cancer screenings are a vital part of preventative dentistry.
At Dentistry at Millennium Park, we screen for oral cancer during each standard appointment with our team. This helps us identify any early signs of oral cancer and make recommendations for the next steps and treatment.
We also provide you with information about how to prevent cancer and at-home steps to protect yourself.
What is the Importance of Oral Cancer Screening?
Preventative care is important for your entire body, including your mouth. Since cancer can spread to different areas if undetected or untreated, it’s crucial to catch any form of cancer as soon as possible and receive treatment from a specialist.
Like other forms of cancer, the survival rate is higher and treatments are simpler if it’s caught early. Removal of precancerous lesions and cancer cells from the mouth can prevent the disease from spreading further in the body and get you back on track to total physical health.
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Following your cleaning with one of our dental hygienists, we look closely at all the parts of your mouth for current signs of cancer or any precancerous warning signs. Different types of technology, specifically for oral cancer screening, may be used during this process.
Areas of the mouth examined during an oral cancer screening include:
- Mouth tissue
- Roof and floor of the mouth
- Lymph nodes, if applicable
- Ears, if applicable
We will discuss our findings with you and cover any necessary next steps if a second opinion from a specialist or treatment is required.
What Does a Dentist Look For During an Oral Cancer Screening?
There are several distinct symptoms that may indicate the presence of oral cancer. This includes symptoms a dentist can see themselves or with technology, and symptoms you experience in everyday life.
We believe oral health is a collaborative process, and oral cancer screenings are no different. As part of the screening, we talk to you about any symptoms you may be experiencing and determine if they are cause for concern.
The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Loose teeth
- Sores on the lips or in the mouth that won’t heal
- Red or white patches
- Growths or lumps
- Mouth or ear pain
- Persistent cough
- Difficulty swallowing
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, call our office immediately at (312) 883-9316 to schedule an appointment and screening.
What are the Risk Factors of Oral Cancer?
Let us know of any preexisting medical conditions you have or lifestyle choices that negatively impact your oral health. These factors can increase your risk of oral cancer.
Some of the most common risk factors for oral cancer include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Using tobacco
- Family history of mouth or throat cancer
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Looking for Oral Cancer Screening in Chicago?
At Dentistry at Millennium Park, our team specializes in preventative dentistry solutions that preserve the health of your mouth, teeth and gums. Call our office at (312) 883-9316 to discuss oral cancer screenings and your options for additional prevention measures.