During your twice-yearly exams with the team at Implant Dentistry of Florida, we do more than simply make your teeth look shiny and bright. Sure, removing tartar and plaque and polishing your teeth are important. But even more important is our examination for the signs of oral cancer. That’s why Dr. Brown, Dr. Vaughn, or Dr. Doan will pull on your tongue, check your glands, and perform other brief diagnostic exercises.
There are various symptoms of oral cancer, but our visual examination is critical to early detection.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is described as cancer that begins in the oral cavity. This can include the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, gums, most of the tongue, the bottom of the mouth, and the hard palate.
Symptoms of oral cancer
As part of your home hygiene, we want you to be on the lookout for any signs of oral cancer. These are some of the most common signs or symptoms:
- A sore in the mouth that doesn’t heel is the most common symptom of oral cancer
- Persistent mouth pain, in contrast to tooth pain
- A lump or thickening in the cheek
- A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
- Numbness of the tongue or other areas inside the mouth
- Jaw swelling
- Loosening teeth
- Jaw pain
- Persistent bad breath
If we find any suspicious lesions (lumps, bumps, or sores) during your exam, we will usually opt to remove the growth and send it off to the lab for evaluation. Most of these growths prove to be benign, but if they are cancerous the key to successful treatment is catching them early. That’s one of the reasons we ask our patients to be diligent about keeping their twice-yearly exams with us.
Is it time for your next cleaning/exam? Call us at Implant Dentistry of Florida, (321) 372-7700, to make your appointment.