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Oral Cancer Screening

An estimated 132 people each day in the U.S. (or about 53,000 this year) will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer.

Thrive dental and orthodontics

At Thrive Dental and Orthodontics, we take this disease very seriously and perform an oral cancer screening at every checkup. You may have only thought of these visits as a way to get your teeth cleaned and make sure you don’t have cavities, but they can actually save your life. Give us a call anytime to schedule a checkup and oral cancer screening with one of our experienced dentists. Your peace of mind is well worth it!

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

In addition to getting professional screenings, it’s also important to keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms between visits:

  • A chronic sore throat.
  • Feeling like something is always stuck in your throat.
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing.
  • Stiffness or pain in your jaw.
  • A lump or bump that’s recently appeared.
  • Any sores that haven’t healed within two weeks.

You may feel alarmed if you notice any of these symptoms, but remember that there are many non-cancerous conditions such as canker sores that look similar. By scheduling an exam with Dr. Coughlin, you’ll be able to either rule out oral cancer or be referred to a specialist for further evaluation.

What does my dentist look for during a screening?

Oral cancer screenings save lives, so we want to be as thorough as possible. That’s why our highly-trained dentists and hygienists both work together to examine your mouth and throat at each visit.

We look for red or white lesions, lumps, bumps, or tissue that has become thick or callous-like. We’ll also inspect the area around your lips, as this is a common spot for a type of skin cancer called melanoma.

What to expect during my screening?

One of the biggest advantages of an oral cancer screening in Richardson is that it’s easy, convenient, and non-invasive. Here are the basic steps:

We’ll begin by looking closely at your lips, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth. We may ask you to say, “Ahhh” when we examine the back of your throat so we can see the area better.
We’ll also look underneath your tongue at the floor of your mouth. To examine the tongue further, we may ask you to stick it out and move it from side to side.
Finally, we’ll gently press on the sides of your neck and underneath your jaw to feel for any lumps, bumps, or tender areas.
Oral cancer rates have risen in recent years. But, with early detection and advances in medical treatment, the survival rate has increased as well. In fact, when oral cancer is found early, the survival rate is 85-90%.

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