April is oral cancer awareness month, and to celebrate, we recommend you reach out to your trusted Nashville dentistry team to schedule an oral cancer screening. Every patient can benefit from regular evaluations for this disease. Dentists have advanced training and experience with diseases that affect the oral and facial structures, making them the ideal medical practitioners to complete your regular examinations. Not sure your dentist provides oral cancer screening during your six month preventive dentistry exams? Give them a call to ask about this service. In most cases, these screenings are so fast and comfortable you might not even notice they’re happening.
What Types of Oral Cancer Are There?
Many patients think that there’s only one type of oral cancer, but actually, oral cancer can affect any part of your lips, mouth, face, neck, and throat. It’s no surprise that different forms of oral cancer have unique warnings signs, and your dentist can help you understand what the signs are and what we’re looking for during your screening.
What are the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer?
When patients know what to look for, they can let their dentist or another medical professional know right away if they are experiencing any warning signs that point to oral cancer. When looking for signs of oral cancer, you should:
- Look at your entire face and neck. Check for swelling, changes in color, sores, or hard spots.
- Gently run your hands over your head and neck, taking special care around the lymph nodes. You’re looking for swelling or hardening beneath the skin.
- Using a bright light, look inside your mouth for any irregularities. Check on and under your tongue. Pull your lips up gently to see the soft tissue inside. If you notice oddly colored areas, changes in the texture of the soft tissue, or sores that don’t heal, this may be a sign of a problem.
How is an Oral Cancer Screening Completed?
We will perform a similar evaluation during your professional oral cancer screening. Then, the dentist asks a series of questions that will help us better understand whether or not you engage in any behaviors that increase your risk for the disease. We will also want to know whether you’re experiencing nonvisual warning signs like sore throat, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing.
Meet Dr. Kirby
Skilled and caring Nashville dentist, Dr. James Kirby, puts years of training and experience to work helping his patients achieve and maintain their healthiest smiles. Dr. Kirby provides screening for oral cancer as part of every six month dental exam. If you have questions about oral cancer or need to schedule your dental exam, give the Green Hills Dental Center a call. We look forward to seeing you soon.