Oral Cancer Screening Ann Arbor
At Everwell Dentistry, your oral health is our number one concern. This is why we offer oral cancer screenings when you come in for your checkup! It is essential that any cancer is caught at the earliest stage possible, and oral is no different. There are some things you should look out for in the meantime, however.
What Is Oral Cancer?Oral cancer simply, simply put, is cancer that affects any part of your mouth, including cheeks, gums, palette, and tongue. Cancer cells cause damage to surrounding tissues and can have the potential to be life-threatening. It is incredibly important that you catch it early, which is why our office screens for it with every check-up.
Signs and SymptomsIn early stages, we look for red or white patches that appear or an ulcer that does not heal. These usually happen on your tongue, either on the sides or the floor of your mouth. If you have a history of long-term sun exposure, you may find one on your bottom lip, which is much more common than its upper companion. If you notice a cold sore or canker sore that does not heal in two or three weeks, be sure and be diligent in getting it checked out. From there, the same symptoms worsen and spread.
What Does a Screening Involve?In our offices, we start by checking your lips, cheeks, tongue, mouth, and even neck. We will also check your throat. Have you ever had a dentist tell you to open wide and say “ah”? It is then that we can most clearly see your throat in its entirety to check for sores we might otherwise miss. We will also check your tongue, underneath your tongue, and the roof of your mouth, gently poking and prodding using gauze. We must also check the floor of your mouth and glands in your neck for strange lumps that should not be there, much in the same way as a doctor does when you get a physical.
What Happens If I Have It?If you are confirmed with oral cancer, treatment depends on stages. In early stages, surgery and close watching may be enough to get rid of it. In other stages, surgery alone cannot take care of the problem and radiation is usually used to help. In this case, though, you will be spending more time with an oncologist than a dentist, more than likely.
We are dedicated to keeping you and your family safe. Everwell Dentistry can work with you and yours to develop a good plan for cancer prevention and can administer extra checks if you feel the need, as in some cases genetics play a role. Our caring team will make sure that you are comfortable and will work with you to overcome any obstacle.