Oral Cancer Screenings – Bedford, TX
Detecting Problems Today to Protect You in the Future
Sadly, oral cancer is a problem that can affect anyone, not just those who use tobacco. Almost 25% of those diagnosed with oral cancer reported no lifestyle habits that would put them at risk of this issue. Oral cancer screenings have become an important part of our regular dental checkups. Dr. Maegan Elam is experienced at detecting oral cancer, giving patients a higher chance of a full recovery. Dentists alone catch 84% of oral cancers, making this couple-minute long process well worth it.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Many symptoms of oral cancer are difficult to detect for the untrained eye, but you should still be on the lookout for these common warning signs:
- White or red lesions in your mouth
- Lumps on or beneath soft tissue in your mouth
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Sores on, in, or around your mouth that won’t heal
- Persistent sore throat
- Spots in your mouth that feel numb
- Pain in your ears
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, contact our office right away. Dr. Elam will be able to provide you with a proper diagnosis and the best next steps for treatment.
What Does My Dentist Look for During a Screening?
During your routine dental checkup, one of our experienced dentists will examine your mouth for any cancerous tissue or warning signs of cancer. If they find any symptoms during this in-depth examination of your mouth and head, they may recommend a biopsy to further investigate the issue. The key is to catch these problems while they’re still small, preventing you from more serious health ramifications. That’s why we recommend an oral cancer screening once a year.
What Should I Expect During My Screening?
Your oral cancer screening will consist of a visual and physical examination of your mouth. First, Dr. Elam will check your entire mouth, tongue, cheeks, lips, throat, and gums for any signs that could tip off oral cancer. They will also examine the rest of your head and neck to see if there are any noticeable irregularities that may need addressing.
After this process is complete, they will physically examine your jaw and neck. This noninvasive and gentle process simply checks for lumps or bumps around your lymph nodes. They may also check your jaw joints and ears for any pain or tenderness.
These exams are especially important if you routinely use tobacco and alcohol. Heavy drinking, routine smoking or tobacco use, and prolonged exposure to the sun are some of the most common risk factors of oral cancer. If you’re prone to these factors or you haven’t received an oral cancer screening in the last year, contact our office today.