Nearly 53,000 people in the United States receive an oral cancer diagnosis each year. At Lashen Dental Group in Denville, New Jersey, dental professionals Stephen Lashen, DDS, Jessica Klein, DMD, and Jason Klein, DMD, care for your whole mouth, not just your teeth. They provide oral cancer screenings to catch signs of oral cancer and start your treatment early. Book your next oral cancer screening by phone or online at Lashen Dental Group today.

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What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is characterized by abnormal cell growth in the tissues of your mouth. You can develop oral cancer on your tongue, cheeks, gums, lips, palate, or the floor of your mouth.

Like other forms of cancer, oral cancer often starts with no discernible signs or symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have your dentist screen you for early signs of oral cancer regularly, especially if you smoke or drink heavily. Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol puts you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer than the general population.

Later stages of oral cancer come with some signs. If you notice any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your dentist or doctor right away:

  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • A lump on your gums or mouth tissues
  • Jaw swelling
  • Mouth sores that don’t heal
  • Pain or numbness in your mouth

These symptoms don’t always result in an oral cancer diagnosis, but they do call for an examination just in case.

How do an oral cancer screening and detection work?

At Lashen Dental Group, the team provides oral cancer screenings to detect early signs of cancer in your mouth. They provide this service during your routine dental exams. By finding early signs of oral cancer, they can help guide you to appropriate treatment and improve your chances of beating it.

During your oral cancer screening, your dentist physically examines every part of the inside of your mouth for sores, patches, and other lesions. Next, they use a gloved hand to feel the inside of your mouth for lumps and other abnormal tissue textures.

If your dentist finds anything suspicious, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have oral cancer. They must test the tissue further by booking a second examination at a later date or by taking a biopsy of the affected tissue.

What happens if my oral cancer screening detects signs of oral cancer?

If your dentist determines that you have oral cancer, they’ll design your treatment plan or coordinate with your doctor to choose the best course of treatment. Your treatment depends on where the cancer is, your personal preferences, what stage the cancer is in, and other factors.

First and foremost, they’ll recommend that you stop smoking and/or drinking right away.

In many cases, the team can remove the cancerous mouth tissue with tumor removal or mouth reconstruction surgery. Nonsurgical treatments for oral cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy.

To schedule your next visit to Lashen Dental Group and to learn more about oral cancer screening and detection, call Lashen Dental Group or book an appointment online today.