According to research conducted by the American Cancer society, more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year. More than 7,000 of these cases result in the death of the patient. The good news is that oral cancer can easily be diagnosed with an annual oral cancer exam, and effectively treated when caught in its earliest stages.
Oral cancer is a pathologic process which begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable. This makes the oral cancer examinations performed by the dentist critically important. Oral cancers can be of varied histologic types such as teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma. This oral cancer type usually originates in lip and mouth tissues.
There are many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers commonly occur, including:
Reasons for oral cancer examinations
It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Your dentist can provide literature and education on making lifestyle changes and smoking cessation.
When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective. Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible. During the oral cancer exam, the dentist and dental hygienist will be scrutinizing the maxillofacial and oral regions carefully for signs of pathologic changes.
The following signs will be investigated during a routine oral cancer exam:
Red patches and sores – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink patches which fail to heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic (cancerous) changes.
Leukoplakia – This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous, or may become cancerous if treatment is not sought.
Lumps – Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathological problems.
Oral cancer exams, diagnosis and treatment
The oral cancer examination is a completely painless process. During the visual part of the examination, the dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers which can highlight pathologic changes are also a wonderful tool for oral cancer checks. The laser can “look” below the surface for abnormal signs and lesions which would be invisible to the naked eye.
If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. In the event that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion.
Oral cancer is deemed to be present when the basement membrane of the epithelium has been broken. Malignant types of cancer can readily spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions, posing additional secondary threats. Treatment methods vary according to the precise diagnosis, but may include excision, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
During bi-annual check-ups, the dentist and hygienist will thoroughly look for changes and lesions in the mouth, but a dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be performed at least once each year.
If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.
To request an appointment, contact Pinecrest Dental Center a cosmetic and family dental practice located in Miami, FL 33156.
Excellent. Excellent. The best Dentist Office I have ever been to.They are very professional and very friendly. You feel at home every time you arrive for an appointment. Dr. Mayoral and his assistants explain everything about what they going to do step by step so you feel safe all the time.I recommend them always to all my family and friends.
I love this dentist!!! I have been to 5 others here in South Florida, and Dr. Mayoral is by far the best. This practice is exceptionally clean and and the staff is incredibly professional and friendly. I don't know what else to say except that I recommended everyone I know, especially my family and friends, and all of them are very happy. I also got my Invisalign 6 months ago and have received many compliments on how nice my teeth and smile look. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!
Pinecrest Dental Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry makes it a pleasure to go to the dentist. They are caring, professional and comforting. They put the patient first, make sure nothing is overlooked and make sure you are on top of your dental care. Every procedure is explained and discussed and all of the outcomes I have had have been wonderful.
My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Pinecrest Dental for the first time, and had an amazing first visit! From the moment we arrived in the office we were greeted by the very friendly staff, felt very comfortable and at home. Dr. Mayoral took his time to sit with both of us and was very thorough with his examination, you could tell that he really cares and is passionate about what he does. We will gladly recommend Pinecrest Dental to our friends and family, and wanted to write this review to help those who are in the process of searching for an amazing Dentist. So glad that we read the reviews and found a great Dentist and staff who really cares and provides exemplary service!
Dr. Mayoral and his team at Pinecrest Dental are absolutely incredible. He takes excellent care of his patients and his dental work is second to none. Dr. Mayoral is truly a perfectionist and it can be seen in so many ways. His office is extremely comfortable starting from the receptionists welcoming smile, all the way to complimentary coffee and flat screen TV's at each chair. As a patient of Dr. Mayoral's, you can rest assured that you are in the best hands. He always spends time with his patients explaining the procedures and has such a nice bed side manner. Dr. Mayoral, you have my highest recommendation. I will continue to recommend your office to all of my friends!