Oral cancer cases are on the rise. Also known as oropharyngeal cancer, this type of tumor can develop on the lips, inner cheeks, gums, tongue, hard palate, soft palate, or salivary glands. When detected early, the cancer can often be effectively treated and even cured. But its early warning signs can be difficult to spot and can easily go unnoticed by an untrained eye.

When it comes to oral cancer screening, your dentist at Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. in Orinda, California, has several important advantages. In addition to familiarity with your medical history, we have excellent lighting and an in-depth view of your mouth. We also have extensive expertise in the general anatomy of the mouth, throat, head, and neck, and we include an oral cancer screening as part of every routine dental check-up. In addition to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, this is one more reason to visit us regularly.

What Does Oral Cancer Screening Involve?

During your dental cleaning and checkup, your dentist at Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. will perform a quick but thorough oral cancer screening, which will include:

  • A visual exam – Your dentist will look for abnormalities, such as thick white patches (leukoplakia) and unusually reddened areas (erythroplakia) in your mouth and throat. 
  • A manual exam – Using their gloved fingers, your dentist will gently feel your face, jaw, and neck to check for lumps, bumps, asymmetries, swelling, and tenderness.

Immediately after your oral cancer screening is complete, your dentist will share the results with you and explain your next steps, if any. Although we can identify possible warning signs of oral cancer, we cannot confirm a cancer diagnosis—only a pathologist can do this after analyzing a sample of the suspicious tissue under a high-powered microscope. If necessary, we can refer you to a specialist for further assessment, which may include a cytology test or biopsy.

To schedule your dental checkup and oral cancer screening, contact Virginia H. Ellis, DDS Dental Corp. in Orinda, CA, today. We don’t just care about your teeth—we also care about you.

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