Oral Cancer Screening

In 2008, it was estimated by the Oral Cancer Foundation that 35,000 people in the U.S. would be diagnosed with oral cancer. At all periodontal maintenance appointments, our hygienist will perform an oral cancer screening. When found early, oral cancers have an 80-90% survival rate. Our examination can help aid in early detection of oral lesions. You can also examine your own mouth periodically at home to check for the following:

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Sores or lesions that do not heal in two weeks time
Any thickness or swelling, especially in the cheeks or tongue
A persistent sore throat or difficulty swallowing
A red or white patch anywhere on the cheeks, tongue, gums, roof or floor of the mouth, or in the tonsillar area at the back of the throat
Swelling of the jaw that irritates dentures or partial dentures
Numbness or difficulty moving the jaw or tongue

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It is recommended, particularly for tobacco and alcohol users, that this examination be performed on a monthly basis. When the calendar is changed to a new month, take a minute to look carefully at the inside of your mouth. Try to look at the following:

The tongue, especially the sides of the tongue and underneath the tongue
The floor of the mouth (under the tongue)
The palate (roof of the mouth)
The insides of the cheeks
The back of the throat and tonsillar area

A normal injury or irritation, such as a burn from hot foods, should heal in 10 days to two weeks.  If an area does not heal and is of concern to you, please feel free to contact us for an examination appointment.

For more information, please visit the Oral Cancer Foundation at the following website:


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