Oral cancer screening during your routine exam in Drumheller, AB

Regular dental visits are crucial for preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but they also allow your dentist to provide oral cancer screening. Early diagnosis of cancer is critical to getting the best prognosis. Dr. Kenneth Poznikoff and his experienced team can check for abnormal tissues as part of your regular exam.

Oral cancer symptoms and risk factors

Oral cancer is a life-threatening condition, but treatment is effective for most individuals if it’s caught early. Historically, oral cancer complications were because of late diagnosis, after cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Many oral cancer symptoms are hard to see on your own, but a dentist can get a much closer look during your exam. Signs of oral cancer include sores that don’t heal, white or red tissues, difficulty swallowing, or pain in your ear or jaw. 

Heavy tobacco use is the number one risk factor in oral cancers in patients over 50, but oral cancer can develop in patients of all ages, whether or not they ever smoke. Other risk factors include the use of alcohol, sun exposure, or certain strains of the HPV virus. Genetics and diet also play a vital role in the development of cancers in your mouth and throat.

What to expect during a screening

We recommend getting an oral cancer screening at least once a year as part of your routine hygiene visit. Your dentist will examine your cheeks, gums, lips, tongues, and throat for abnormal tissues or lumps during your screening. They will also feel your jaw and throat for signs of growth and look for abnormalities on your dental x-rays. If your dentist does find something unusual, it’s not always a sign of cancer. They may recommend a follow-up appointment to monitor for changes, or in some cases, suggest a biopsy to look for cancer cells.

Treatment for oral cancer depends greatly on what stage it is in. In some cases, a simple surgery can remove oral cancer. In contrast, in other cases, you may need radiation or chemotherapy, as well as different treatment strategies to slow the spread. Contact Dr. Poznikoff and his team in Drumheller, AB, today at (833) 575-1855 to schedule your appointment for an oral screening for mouth cancer.