Oral cancer takes approximately one life a day in the U.S., according to the Oral Cancer Foundation, but routine oral cancer screenings have the power to dramatically lower that number. Robert J. Perez, DDS, is an experienced dentist who performs comprehensive oral cancer screenings at Impressive Smiles Tampa in Tampa, Florida. To find out more, call or book an appointment online today.
An oral cancer screening is a preventive measure that checks for signs of precancerous or cancerous lesions in your mouth. The screening doesn’t diagnose cancer, but it can identify early signs of the disease, which raises your chances of catching oral cancer early.
With early intervention, oral cancer is highly treatable. That’s why it’s important to look out for the following warning signs:
If any of these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, contact Dr. Perez for a dental exam right away.
While no preparation is needed for an oral cancer screening, you must take out any removable appliances, such as dentures, so Dr. Perez to check for abnormalities.
With gloved hands, Dr. Perez feels the inside of your mouth for lumps or abnormal growths. He also thoroughly examines your tongue, palate, gums, and the inside of your cheeks to make sure there are no concerning red or white patches.
In some instances, a special dye or light may be used to target abnormal cells in your mouth. If Dr. Perez finds any signs of oral cancer, he either recommends a follow-up visit or a biopsy. During the biopsy, he or another doctor removes a small portion of the potentially cancerous lesion to be tested in a lab.
Oral cancer is often not caught until it’s metastasized outside of the intraoral cavity, typically to the lymph nodes in the neck. Once it spreads, oral cancer is much harder to treat than when it’s confined to the oral cavity.
You can dramatically lower your risk of developing the disease by scheduling routine dental exams, quitting tobacco (smoking and chewing), and checking for abnormal lesions in your mouth.
Dr. Perez is proud to offer thorough oral cancer screenings at his Tampa office. Call Impressive Smiles Tampa or schedule an appointment online today for more information.