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Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer is diagnosed in roughly 30,000 new cases every year and is considered the world’s sixth deadliest cancer. It is an increasing problem among adults 40 years old and above, and is more prevalent in adults who smoke cigarettes, use smokeless tobacco or those that regularly consume alcohol. If detection and treatment are done early, there is an 83% cure rate.

Detecting abnormalities of the tissues of your mouth, lips and throat is one of the most essential steps in preventing serious health issues to develop including oral diseases and oral cancer. In our goal to help protect your health, Smile On Dentistry – Centreville dentist now utilizes the VELscope system, an innovative way to better assess your complete oral health. It is non-invasive, quick and extremely helpful for your dentist to detect any oral abnormalities.

VELscope is a handheld, wireless scope which uses natural tissue fluorescence, enhancing the way clinicians can see abnormalities which would otherwise be missed with just the naked eye. When used along with traditional intra- and extra-oral heads and neck exams with the benefit of no prolonged tests, procedures or dyes. Your dentist can perform a VELscope exam during your routine oral exam, it only takes about two minutes. Tests like these can place valuable information in front of your dentist much quicker and more efficiently, helping them to detect abnormal tissues and help save lives.

Factors Which Can Increase Your Risk Of Oral Cancer

  • Tobacco usage including: chewing tobacco, cigarettes, pipes, cigars, pipes, snuff, and others
  • Frequent and heavy alcohol usage
  • Frequent significant sun exposure increases lip cancer risks
  • Previous diagnosis of oral cancer

What does oral cancer look like and how do you know if you have it? If you notice a sore or growth in your mouth that will not heal and go away, this can be a sign. Oral cancers do not just appear on the lips, cheeks and tongue. It also includes the hard and soft palate, the floor of the mouth, the sinuses and the pharynx (throat). All of these will become life-threatening if not quickly diagnosed and promptly treated.

Common Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

  • Thickening, swelling, bumps, lumps, crusty, rough spots or eroded areas anywhere on the gums, lips, or anywhere inside your mouth
  • Bleeding in your mouth which can not be explained
  • Patches of white, red or speckling of white and red anywhere in your mouth
  • Feelings of numbness, pain/tenderness, or loss of feeling anywhere on your mouth, neck or face which is unexplainable
  • Sores on the mouth, face, or which easily bleed and will not heal after two weeks or remain persistent
  • Feeling like something is caught in the back of your throat or feels sore
  • Persistent ear pain
  • Difficulty with swallowing, speaking, chewing and moving the tongue or jaw
  • Sore throat which are chronic, hoarseness or noticeable changes in your voice
  • Changes in how your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

During your exam and oral cancer screening, your dentist will ask you to notify them of any changes to your medical history and if you have noticed anything different or symptoms you are concerned. Your dentist will look inside your mouth, not only at your teeth but also at the lining of your cheeks, your gums, the floor of your mouth, the front section of your tongue, the roof of your mouth and your lips. They will also check your throat including the soft part of the roof of your mouth, the tonsils, the back area of your tongue where it connects to the bottom of your mouth, your jaw and your neck, specifically looking for lumps or any abnormalities. A thorough oral cancer screening is your best chance of early detection.

With regular dental exams, early detection means early treatment and better survival rates. Call Smile On Dentistry – Centreville at (703) 543-8112 today to schedule your oral cancer screening.