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Oral Cancer Screenings

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Oral Pathology

Just like your body, your mouth can be exposed to a variety of medical and dental disorders. Oral pathology refers to the diseases of the mouth and related structures such as salivary glands, temporomandibular joints, facial muscles, and perioral skin. The mouth is an essential organ with many different functions.

Dr. Angie Lee, our periodontist, can identify and treat diseases of the mouth. Diagnosis is completed through X-ray, microscopic, biochemical, and other in-office examinations. Dr. Angie Lee provides biopsy services for dentists and offers clinical recommendations based on her findings. We can diagnose diseases such as mouth and throat cancer, mumps, salivary gland disorders, ulcers, odontogenic infection, etc.

Preventative Dental Care

Oral cancer screenings are a vital part of your preventative dental care with Dr. Angie Lee. With the right technology, we can pinpoint the start of potential problems much earlier in its evolution. Not all issues are reversible. However, you have a much better chance to reverse or slow issues before the problem has had time to progress if we can catch the issue early on.

The oral cancer screening is often completed with an ultraviolet light or similar device that allows us to view issues that the human eye can't always detect under normal conditions.

Certain lifestyle choices can significantly impact the health of tissues and your overall health in the mouth. If you are a smoker or heavy drinker, make sure to get regular screenings when you visit your dentist.

Most dentists perform an examination of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. Some dentists may use additional tests to aid in identifying areas of abnormal cells in your mouth. The goal of oral cancer screening is to identify cancer early when there is a greater chance for a cure.

Please keep in mind that no single oral exam or oral cancer-screening test is proven to reduce the risk of oral cancer.

If you have abnormal sores in your mouth, don't jump to any conclusions right away. The majority of mouth sores are found to be noncancerous. An oral exam can't determine which sores are cancerous and which are not. If Dr. Angie Lee or your primary general dentist finds an unusual sore, it is recommended to go through further testing to determine its cause. The only way to definitively decide whether or not you have oral cancer is to remove some abnormal cells and test them for cancer.

Who should consider oral cancer screening?

People with a high risk of oral cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco use of any kind, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff, among others
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • A previous oral cancer diagnosis

Ask your dentist whether oral cancer screening is appropriate for you. Also, ask how you can reduce your risk of oral cancer, such as quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol.