Your dentist could very well be your number one soldier in the fight against oral cancer. Statistics show that in about 10% percent of patients, dentists notice a problem area even before the patient notices. During a regular dental checkup, your dentist will examine your entire mouth, searching for a flat, painless white or red spot or a small sore. Other signs of oral cancer can include:
– A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal.
– A color change of the oral tissues.
– A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small, eroded area.
– Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
We use the revolutionary VELscope Oral Cancer Screening technology to more accurately diagnose oral cancer. Learn more about VELscope here.
Two follow-up tests can determine if a trouble spot is cancerous. A brush biopsy is a painless test performed on areas that look harmless or do not have a clear cause. This test can detect potentially dangerous cells in the early stages of the disease. A scalpel biopsy, which requires local anesthesia, is usually performed on suspicious areas.