Diagnosing & Treating Oral Cancer
At Northwood Dental, our team of dentists are here to support your oral health and wellness in whatever way we can. That’s why we offer oral cancer screenings during routine dental visits and by appointment to ensure that you’re at no risk of any issues.
Early detection of oral cancer can significantly increase your survival rate, which is why we encourage patients from Petoskey, Traverse City, Conway, and Mount Pleasant, MI to schedule regular visits with our dentist, Dr. Klym. Read on to learn more about screenings for oral cancer and how you can be on the lookout for early signs and symptoms.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer occurs when cancerous cells begin to grow out of control in the gums, lips, tongue, or other parts of your mouth. Also known as mouth cancer, this condition is regularly screened for at dentist’s visits and can also be detected at home by looking out for noticeable symptoms like sores that don’t heal.
When caught early, patients with oral cancer have an 85 percent survival rate. We encourage patients to regularly check for signs of oral cancer, as well as schedule biannual appointments with our dental team at either our Traverse City or Petoskey office.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Being aware of the common signs of oral cancer is crucial to early detection and treatment. Symptoms of oral cancer typically appear in the tongue, tonsils, cheeks, and gums. Early and noticeable signs that you can detect at home include:
- Irregular bleeding
- Lumps or lesions
- Difficulty moving your tongue, mouth, or jaw
- Shifting teeth
- Persistent red or white ulcers
- Sudden and drastic weight loss
- Lower facial sores
We provide oral cancer screenings during patients’ routine dental visits. If you haven’t attended your biannual appointment or been screened for oral cancer this year, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Klym today.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should you get oral cancer screening?
Our dentists perform oral cancer screenings during patients’ regular dental appointments, which we recommend scheduling once every six months. However, the frequency in which you receive oral cancer screenings depends on several factors, such as your age and oral health.
Patients over 20 years can choose to get screened for oral cancer once every three years. However, patients over 40 should get screened once every year.
Who is most at risk for oral cancer?
There are several risk factors associated with the development of oral cancer. You may be at a higher risk of this severe condition if you:
- Have a genetic disposition
- Have HPV
- Use tobacco products
- Have a history of heavy sun exposure
- Excessively consume alcohol
- Have been previously diagnosed with oral cancer
If any of these factors apply to you, it’s especially vital to undergo routine screenings for oral cancer. Early diagnosis can make all the difference in treatment. If you have any questions or concerns or wish to schedule an appointment, one of our team members will be more than happy to help.
How can I prevent oral cancer?
There’s no guaranteed way to prevent oral cancer. There are, however, steps you can take to decrease your risk of developing it, such as:
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
- Protecting your lips from UV rays
- Consuming foods rich in antioxidants
- Attending regular dental cleanings
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
Schedule Your Screening With Dr. Klym Today
If you’ve noticed any unusual changes in your oral health or any other signs that may indicate a more serious complication, don’t wait to schedule an appointment. When detected early, our dentists can better treat conditions like oral cancer.
Schedule a visit with Dr. Klym by contacting our Traverse City office at (231) 947-7202 or our Petoskey office at (231) 347-2188. You can also fill out our contact form to request an appointment online. Our team strives to support and preserve your oral health and wellness.