Request Like Us Reviews

Oral Cancer Screenings – Green Hills, TN

Where Early Detection Means Saving A Life

A young woman and an older woman hugging

You may be surprised to know that you’ve had an oral cancer screening in Green Hills during a past visit to the dentist office. You may not have realized you were having one, but as part of any routine dental checkup, Dr. James Kirby makes sure to check each of his patients for any signs or symptoms that could be associated with oral cancer. Early detection is vital in the fight against this deadly disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2019, and of those who need treatment, only 50% will live to see five years. By allowing the team at Green Hills Dental Center to screen you for oral cancer, you are increasing your chances of survival should anything abnormal be detected. If it’s been a while since your last visit, call us and schedule an appointment today.

What is Oral Cancer?

Someone writing the words 'oral cancer' with a red circle around it

Oral cancer can include a wide variety of cancers that develop within the oral cavity or on the throat. Your tongue, lips, cheeks, and throat all are susceptible to oral cancer. While tobacco is the number one risk factor for developing the disease, there are other lifestyle habits and conditions that can put you at an increased risk. These include:

  • Excessive drinking
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Lengthy exposure to the sun
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Genetics

Oral cancer used to appear most often in men over the age of 50; however, with the recent rise in HPV, the cases appearing in younger individuals is becoming more and more.

What Happens During a Screening?

 A female patient and her dentist

This quick and painless procedure is performed on an annual basis. Dr. Kirby will ask you about your oral and overall health, as well as if there are any changes you’ve noticed to your mouth, neck, jaw, or throat. Once he’s received enough information, he will perform a visual and tactile examination of your oral cavity and throat. You can expect him to look for:

  • Red or white patches in your mouth
  • A lump or hard area
  • Oral sores that don’t heal or continually bleed
  • Sore throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Swelling in the neck, throat, or mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in the color or texture of soft tissue

Why is Early Detection so Important?

A man smiling in the dentist chair

Of the more than 50,000 individual cases that will be diagnosed this year, 10,000 will die. That’s a large number for a disease that can be treated successfully if caught in its early stages. Your dentist in Green Hills is your best line of defense when looking for signs because 84% of oral cancer cases can be detected by a dental professional.

We believe in the importance of preventive care, and that doesn’t just mean checking your teeth and gums for cavities, tooth decay, or gum disease. Oral cancer is very real and very dangerous, which means we, too, believe it’s worth taking the time to screen our patients. If caught early, we will direct you to a medical professional who can properly diagnose you and start you on a treatment plan. Your cancer team, which will include your dentist, will be right there to help you through the process.