With the arrival of the new year, it is important to reflect on the state of your oral health. If it has been some time since your last visit for an oral hygiene examination and cleaning, we recommend scheduling your next appointment as soon as possible. Not only do we thoroughly clean the teeth, remove any lingering plaque, and look for signs of decay, but we also check for other conditions such as gum disease and oral cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 54,000 people have been diagnosed with oral or throat cancer in 2022.
What to Know About Oral Cancer
Patients are often surprised to learn that oral cancer can affect any part of the mouth, including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, and even the roof and floor. Some people assume that it is just the tongue and cheeks. Between hygiene examination appointments, it is important to be mindful of any changes in your mouth. Warning signs of oral cancer can include:
- Discomfort or tenderness in the gums, cheeks, or tongue
- A sore or irritated area that does not heal
- Red or white patches in the mouth
- A lump or rough spot in the mouth
Using a VELscope During a Cancer Screening
As mentioned above, we conduct a cancer screening during your routine hygiene examination appointment. During the examination, not all oral cancer spots are visible to the naked eye, especially if they are in the early stages. We use a VELscope to assist with the examination. This tool uses a special blue light that, when shown in the mouth, can indicate precancerous and cancerous changes. Performing an oral cancer screening only takes a few short seconds, even when using the VELscope.
If you are located in the Brunswick, GA, area and are in need of a hygiene examination and cleaning, be sure to contact our office to schedule an appointment. Call us as soon as possible if you experience any changes in your mouth and are concerned you may have oral cancer. We look forward to hearing from you soon.