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Oral Cancer Screening
Preventive Dentistry Tulsa, OK

Image of a woman smiling at dental professional. Oral cancer screening is a procedure performed by dentists to detect any precancerous conditions or signs of cancer in the mouth. The primary goal of an oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer as early as possible while there are better possibilities of treating it. The screening is usually done during your routine dental checkups. Our dentist will inspect your mouth to look for any color patches, swellings, lumps, ulcerations, asymmetries, or other oral anomalies. The dentist will examine your face, cheeks, jaw, lips, neck, oral cavity, and inside your nose. For more information about oral cancer screening tests and procedures, visit us at Smiles of Tulsa.

Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is very advantageous. To begin with, it aids in the detection of precancerous lesions that can lead to mouth cancer. If these lesions are detected early enough, they are simple to remove, and the patient recovers fully. Throat and mouth cancers have become more common in recent years. Risk factors include chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes, cigarettes, and snuff. Excessive sun exposure also raises the risk of developing lip cancer. Oral cancer risk factors might also be increased by heavy alcohol consumption and a previous oral cancer diagnosis.

Types of Oral Cancer

Here at Smiles of Tulsa, we are well-versed with the different types of oral cancer and the treatment options available. There are four types of oral cancer. The most common type of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCCs are often slow-growing but can spread to other parts of the body if not treated right away. They arise from the squamous cells that line the mouth, lips, and tongue surfaces. The next type is adenocarcinoma which starts in epithelial tissues such as those found in saliva glands or the lining of specific cheek tissues.

The third type is melanoma which arises from melanocytes, cells that give skin its color. It's less common than SCC or adenocarcinoma, but it can be more dangerous because it can spread quickly to other parts of the body. Lastly, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) starts in basal cells, a type of cell found in the deepest layer of skin. BCCs are also slow-growing and rarely spread to other parts of the body. Our dental team at Smiles of Tulsa is available to answer any questions you may have about oral cancer.

Preparation for Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening does not require any extra preparation because it can be done by our dentist during your routine exam and cleaning appointment. During your regular dental checkup, our dentist will look over your whole mouth for any white or red spots or mouth sores. The dentist will also feel your oral tissues for lumps and anomalies.

The dentist may choose to conduct further tests to look for oral cancer. The two tests consist of oral cancer screening light and oral cancer screening dye. The dentist shines a bright light in your mouth during the oral cancer screening light to check for oral cancer. The light causes abnormal tissues in your mouth to become white, while healthy ones become black. On the other hand, oral cancer screening dye entails washing your mouth with a particular blue dye before the inspection. All abnormal cells in your mouth appear blue when you rinse the dye, allowing the dentist to identify them quickly.

If the dentist identifies any precancerous lesions or symptoms of oral cancer, we will recommend that you return in a few weeks to check on your progress. When you come back, we will check if the damaged region is still there and if it's changed or developed over time. If necessary, we will recommend a biopsy procedure in which a sample of cells is extracted and sent to a laboratory to determine whether cancer cells are present. You may also be referred to an oral cancer specialist for extra treatment.

Types of Oral Cancer Surgery

If you do develop oral cancer, there are treatments and surgeries available. Lymph node removal and tumor resection are among two of the most common types.

Lymph Node Removal

One of the first places that oral cancer spreads to is the lymph nodes in the neck. In many cases, the lymph nodes may be removed during the surgery to remove cancer from your mouth. By removing lymph nodes shown to contain cancer cells, or that might contain cancer cells, as well as some of the surrounding tissue, we can help to prevent the likelihood that cancer will come back.

Tumor Resection

Tumor resection is a procedure that removes the entire tumor from your mouth. With this procedure, some of the tissue surrounding the tumor is also removed to make sure all cancer cells have been eliminated. If the tumor is small enough, we can often remove it through your mouth. For larger tumors, we may need to make incisions in the jaw or the neck.

Tooth Removal and Dental Implants

If you need radiation to remove oral cancer, you may be recommended to have some of your teeth removed. This is because unhealthy teeth exposed to radiation can lead to serious complications. A dental exam is performed before undergoing radiation. If you do need teeth removed, they can be replaced later with dental implants.

Reconstructive Surgery

Depending upon your surgical procedure, reconstructive surgery may also be required. Reconstructive surgery is done to restore bone mass and soft tissues removed during your cancer surgery. It typically involves taking soft tissue or bone tissue from another area of your body, called grafting, and transplanting them to the affected areas of your mouth. Reconstructive surgery helps to restore functionality, your oral health, and your overall appearance.

Recommended Frequency of Oral Cancer Screening

The National Cancer Institute recommends annual oral cancer screenings. Early detection is key in fighting against this disease. Oral cancer screenings can easily be performed during your dental checkups.

Oral Cancer Screening Available at Smiles of Tulsa

Visit Smiles of Tulsa for more inquiries about oral cancer screening. Call us today at (918) 891-3059 to schedule an appointment.

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(918) 891-3059


6565 S. Yale Ave
Tulsa, OK 74136-8327

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Smiles of Tulsa, 6565 S. Yale Ave., Ste. 1103, Tulsa, OK 74136 / (918) 891-3059 / smilesoftulsa.com / 6/12/2024 / Associated Words: Preventive Dentistry Tulsa OK /