Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral Cancer Screenings

Over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year. Fortunately, oral cancer can be caught early during a regular dental exam through oral cancer screenings, and as a result treated promptly and effectively before it advances.

Oral cancer can normally be found in various locations in the mouth and maxillofacial region, including the lips, mouth, tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums, and face. Dr. Espili will carefully examine each of these areas to check for any abnormal signs that could hint at oral cancer development.

Reasons for Oral Cancer Examinations

Nearly 75% of oral cancers are linked with lifestyle behaviors such as tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Dr. Espili can provide you with literature that can help you make lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing oral cancer. In addition, Dr. Espili will also perform bi-annual oral cancer screenings. During these exams, Dr. Espili and the dental hygienist will carefully assess the oral cavity as well as other maxillofacial regions like the face, glands, and neck for signs of pathologic changes and abnormalities, such as:

  • Red patches and sores – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink patches which fail to heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic (cancerous) changes.
  • Leukoplakia – This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous or may become cancerous if treatment is not sought.
  • Lumps – Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathological problems.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If Dr. Espili detects any type of abnormalities such as lesions, leukoplakia, or lumps, she will create a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. If oral cancer is detected in its earliest stages, treatments that are administered promptly are usually very effective. In the event that the treatment plan is ineffective, a diagnostic biopsy will be needed. This involves a clinical evaluation of the oral lesion to discern at which stage and grade it is in.

Treatment methods for oral cancer may vary, depending on the exactdiagnosis. The most common treatments for oral cancer include excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Is it almost time for your routine dental exam? Book an appointment with our office today; Dr. Espili will perform a thorough dental exam that includes screening for oral cancer.