About Oral Pathology
Approximately 50,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. When detected early on, the chance of survival increases significantly, making routine screenings crucial for individuals of every age. At Advanced Dentistry of Centre County, our general dentists and team provide oral cancer screenings on a routine basis to detect any areas of the mouth, head, or neck regions that may appear abnormal, irregular, or otherwise concerning. Any sores that do not heal, bumps, nodules, lumps, or other symptoms that do not appear normal should be evaluated promptly for the presence of oral pathology. Please contact our State College, PA practice right away for an oral cancer screening and evaluation if you or a loved one have any abnormalities or areas of concern in or around the mouth.
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What Are the Risk Factors?
Though not every irregularity in the mouth is indicative of oral cancer, it is important to have any new or persistent developments evaluated right away. Oral cancer can be present anywhere in the mouth, including the cheeks, lips, tongue, gums, the floor of the mouth, throat and tonsillar area, hard and soft palates, salivary glands, and jawbone. Certain factors can place an individual at a greater risk for oral cancer, such as:
- Tobacco use (all types)
- Excessive alcohol use
- Sun exposure
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Poor oral hygiene
- General health conditions
- Other concerns
Any irregularities or abnormalities in the mouth or head and neck area could be precancerous or cancerous concerns and should be evaluated promptly. Even if you have such areas that have persisted over a long period of time, we encourage you to schedule a visit with our dentists so that they can evaluate and monitor your oral health.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
It is important to note that many abnormalities involving tissues of the mouth, head, and neck are not precancerous or cancerous in nature. However, a proper oral pathology exam and diagnostic process may be necessary to rule out any risks to your health. Please schedule a visit at Advanced Dentistry of Centre County for an oral cancer screening if you or a family member notices any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Sores that bleed or do not heal
- Raised or corrugated (rough) areas
- White or red patches of tissue
- Lesions or nodules
- Lumps or mass in the neck
- Chronic hoarseness
- Persisting sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
Detecting Oral Cancer
Our dentists and team routinely perform thorough head and neck exams and intraoral cancer screenings in an effort to detect oral pathology as early as possible. We provide a visual screening of the oral tissues and palpate oral structures during each periodic dental exam visit. Other advanced technologies may also be utilized to further evaluate any areas of concern. If an abnormal or irregular area is detected, we may collect a small sample of the affected tissue to perform a biopsy and pathology testing and determine if precancerous or cancerous cells are present. Our dentists may then partner with a specialist for a more in-depth evaluation or to explore treatment options. We will also show you how to conduct monthly self-oral cancer screenings at home so you can become familiar with your mouth and better able to identify any abnormalities that may develop.
Oral cancer screenings are a preventive service performed within the course of a routine dental exam. If a biopsy or other diagnostic procedure is necessary, our team will review your insurance benefits and inform you of any anticipated personal costs. At Advanced Dentistry, we are dedicated to providing affordable options to all patients and accept a multitude of convenient payment solutions, including flexible financing plans.
Early Identification Is Key
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of oral cancer as early as possible provides a greater prognosis for your health and wellness. If you notice any irregularities in or around your mouth between dental visits (regardless of how minor they may appear), please schedule an appointment for an oral cancer screening with our dentists at Advanced Dentistry of Centre County. Our State College, PA team is committed to helping you enjoy a happy smile and healthy lifestyle through early detection of oral pathology.