Oral cancer, or the uncontrollable growth of cells that cause harm to the tissue around it, will appear as a mass or sore in the mouth. Oral cancer can be found anywhere on the lips, cheeks, tongue, in your sinuses, throat, or the roof or floor of your mouth, or in your palates. If your dentist has concluded that some tests need to be run, then the diagnoses will be revealed from a biopsy of tissue removed from the area. The sooner you bring it to attention and get checked out, the better.

Typically done as part of a regular dental exam, your Fort Worth dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening. This means beginning by feeling around different areas of the mouth, neck and face to see if anything unusual can be identified. If they feel a biopsy is necessary, there are two types of biopsies to choose from. The first causes no pain; an oral brush is used to remove tissue that is not much different than your own toothbrush at home. The other is a scalpel biopsy, and a local anesthesia will probably be given to remove the sample without any pain.

Symptoms that can indicate Oral Cancer

  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • The consistent feeling of something being stuck in your throat
  • Difficulty doing normal everyday things like chewing, talking, or swallowing
  • A change in your voice
  • Pain in your ears
  • Sore, swelling, or any abnormal spots that have formed around your lips or inside your mouth
  • White, red, or blotchy patches in your mouth
  • A change in the way your teeth (or dentures, if you have them) fit together
  • A dramatic loss of weight

Risk Factors

  • Smoking increases your odds of getting oral cancer by six times
  • The use of smokeless tobacco (dip, snuff, chew) leaves you 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Excessive use of alcohol increases the chance to develop cancer by six times
  • Having an excessive amount of exposure to the sun can also increase your likelihood of oral cancer, particularly on the lips

The key is to not wait when you feel as if something is off. The faster something can be detected, the more quickly treatment can be given and healing can begin. Your oral health is vital to your overall well-being, and will always be given the sincere and professional attention necessary at our Fort Worth dental office.