Overview of Oral Cancer Screening
A dentist should screen you for oral cancer during your routine dental cleanings. The purpose of these exams is to detect any signs of oral cancer because there is a greater chance for a successful treatment with early detection. Early stages of mouth cancer include lesions or tumors, which can be removed before problems worsen.
You should see your dentist twice a year, even if you don’t suspect any issues. However, if you notice any of the symptoms below, you should contact our office and schedule an appointment:
- Mouth sores that do not heal
- Persistent mouth pain
- White or red patches in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness in the tongue
- Pain in the teeth or jaws
- Chronic bad breath
Causes of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the tongue, lips, inside the cheek, gums, tonsils, salivary glands, and on the roof and floor of the mouth. It can be life-threatening if left untreated and undiagnosed.
Typically, cancers that you can see in the mouth are the result of tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, or genetic predisposition. Cancer that is more difficult to see that exists in the back of the mouth can be caused by tobacco use and the HPV16 virus, which is also associated with other cancers.
It’s important to routinely see a dentist even if you do not use tobacco or alcohol. Oral cancer and other problems can exist that you may not see and can be caused by other factors. The causes of oral cancer include
- Smokeless tobacco
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Family history
- Excessive sun exposure
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
Oral Cancer Screenings in Fresno, CA
Dr. Oji is specially trained to identify and screen signs of oral cancer. Even if you don’t have symptoms, it’s important to be evaluated by a professional who can identify the hidden signs of cancer and disease. Please call our office in Fresno, CA, to schedule your oral health screening.