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Oral Cancer Screening – Austin, TX

A Potentially Lifesaving Part of Your Dental Checkup

Man getting his mouth checked

At Parkfield Family Dental, we check for more than just the health of your teeth. In fact, an integral part of our routine checkups involves oral cancer screenings. Cases of oral cancer are on the rise, making it more important than ever to come in for regular visits. We can detect this issue while it’s still treatable, giving you your best chance at a full recovery. Keep reading to learn more about how your routine dental checkup could be potentially lifesaving.

What You Should Know About Oral Cancer

Man thinking

Oral cancer is an increasingly common type of cancer that affects the mouth, neck, and head. While anyone can get it, oral cancer will usually develop for these common reasons:

  • Tobacco use (smoking and smokeless)
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Ill-fitting dentures that cause inflammation
  • HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
  • A genetic predisposition
  • An infection caused by fungi, bacteria, or viruses

While most of these causes can be modified to lower risk of oral cancer, the rising rate of HPV has caused many new oral cancer cases that are not tied to tobacco or alcohol use.

The Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Illustration of bacteria in mouth

Oral cancer can often be hard to spot on your own, but some of the most common warning signs include:

  • Swollen or thick oral tissue
  • Rough or scaly patches of oral tissue
  • Red, white, or discolored oral tissue
  • Lumps or growths on the neck
  • A sore in the mouth that bleeds often
  • Pain or numbness around the face
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Trouble speaking or eating normally

If you notice any of these common symptoms of oral cancer, contact our office right away. We will carefully look over your mouth before recommending your next steps.

How an Oral Cancer Screening Works

Woman smiling in dental chair

An oral cancer screening consists of a visual and physical exam to detect any early signs before they progress. We will start by carefully checking your mouth, gums, tongue, cheeks, neck, and head for any abnormalities that could tip off cancer. While the warning signs above may seem obvious, many times, they’re incredibly subtle. Next, we will feel along your jaw and neck for any lumps or bumps. If we find any asymmetries or symptoms, we may order a biopsy for further investigation.

In total, an oral cancer screening only takes a few minutes, but these precious seconds are enough to save lives. If you were looking for another reason to maintain biannual dental checkups, here it is! Oral cancer can affect anyone, whether you use tobacco or not, which is why it’s important to see your dentist regularly.