Oral Cancer Screening


Every year, up to 50,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed, and of these diagnoses, approximately 10,000 cases will be fatal. There are a variety of oral cancer types, including adenocarcinoma, teratoma, melanoma, and the most common type, malignant squamous cell carcinoma. Oral cancer can occur in the gums, throats, salivary glands, tongue, and face. Although oral cancer has long been believed to be an issue unique to smokers, research indicates that while tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption can increase an individual’s risk of developing oral cancer, other factors may play a significant role, including genetic predisposition, ethnicity, and gender. If treated early enough, oral cancer often results in a positive prognosis, which is why it is so important to schedule regular periodontal examinations, where oral cancer screenings can be performed. At Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants, we offer conservative treatment of gum disease and a comprehensive list of procedures, ranging from periodontal maintenance, diagnosis and treatment of oral pathology, dental implants, and/or cosmetic procedures to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile. Our number one goal is to provide optimal care in a comfortable and relaxed environment.

Our team explaining the link between oral health and full body health
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The Oral Cancer Screening Process

The oral cancer screening process is typically performed during your biannual periodontal exams. Prior to beginning the examination, we will evaluate and discuss your medical history and any concerns or questions you may have. Next, we will examine your mouth, jaw, cheeks, and head for signs of masses, unusual nodules, and/or abnormal tissue. Common oral cancer symptoms include red and white bumps, hard lumps, rough patches, unexplained weight loss, and/or fatigue.

If atypical results are discovered, it will be necessary to perform a biopsy (removal of the abnormal tissue) to determine a definitive diagnosis. The biopsy can either be performed by cutting away a small piece of the tissue (incisional) or the removal of the entire abnormality (excisional). Incisional biopsies are typically performed when the abnormal mass is large, whereas excisional biopsies are typically performed when the lump is small. Once the biopsy is complete, the tissue will be sent to a laboratory for evaluation and diagnosis. Although results following an oral cancer screening and biopsy are typically negative, it is important to be aware that should the results come back positive, there are several treatment options available.

If it is determined that oral cancer is present, the first step that will be taken is developing a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and medical history, as well as the severity of your case. The most common treatment option for oral cancer is removing the tumor. If the tumor is in an area with a lot of tissue, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended to attack the cancerous cells while protecting the healthy tissue.

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Risk Factors and Preventative Measures

Unfortunately, everyone is at some risk of developing oral cancer, either due to genetic predisposition or lifestyle habits. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to significantly reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. Avoiding use of tobacco products (especially chewing tobacco) is the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing oral cancer. It is also important to limit your intake of alcohol. Research suggests that moderate drinking does not pose a large threat to increase in oral cancer risk rates, however binge drinking or drinking on a regular basis can be a contributing factor. Avoiding excessive sun exposure can also reduce your risk of developing oral cancer.

While these steps will reduce your risk, it is important to be aware that there is no way to eliminate the possibility of oral cancer developing. As such, it is important to perform regular self-examinations and schedule regular visits to your periodontist, where oral cancer screenings can be performed. If you are concerned that you may have oral cancer or other oral pathological diseases, contact us today. Treating the issue as soon as possible is the best way to increase your likelihood of enjoying a full recovery.

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what is a periodontist?

we specialize in gum disease
tissue growth, and dental implantology

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Hygiene at a Perio Practice

we specialize in gum disease
tissue growth, and dental implantology

Cost of Oral Cancer Screening

The cost of having an oral cancer screening performed will depend on a variety of factors, including what procedures (if any) are necessary and your dental insurance plan. At Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants, we are committed to helping you maximize your insurance reimbursement so you can receive optimal care, which is why we will file your claim and handle your paperwork. Please be aware, though, that any remaining balance following coverage is your responsibility to cover. Though not required, we do offer a discount for patients who pay their bill in full (cash, check, or credit) prior to treatment.

Before scheduling your appointment, we will provide an estimated total cost and answer any questions you have concerning payment plan options, such as Care Credit which offer interest-free payment plans for six-to-twelve-month periods and/or a payment arrangement made in advance with our office.

For your convenience, we accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express.

Schedule Your Appointment

At Anthem Periodontics and Dental Implants, your oral health is our number one goal. We are committed to providing you with the comprehensive periodontal support you need to continue enjoying a bright, healthy smile. To learn more or schedule an appointment for an oral cancer screening, contact our office at (702) 270-4600/. We look forward to providing you with quality care tailored to your unique needs!