Among all the various oral health concerns, cancer isn’t usually the first to come to mind. Unfortunately, oral cancer affects nearly 50,000 Americans every year. Without effective treatment, it can be fatal.

During your typical dental exam, your dentist will look for any signs of oral health issues, including oral cancer. These indications can range from long-term sores on your lip to growths on your tongue. 

When it comes to oral cancer, catching it early is the key to effective treatment. Kent T Haynes DDS offers oral cancer screening in Durango, CO. These screenings not only offer early detection but provide peace of mind.

Common Oral Cancer Symptoms

Aside from irregular growths or sores, there are several other symptoms of oral cancer to look out for:

  1. Excessive bleeding in the mouth
  2. White or red spots around the mouth
  3. Constant bleeding sores on your neck, face, and mouth
  4. Persistent or chronic sore throat
  5. Voice change
  6. Intense and unintentional weight loss
  7. Pain in the ear
  8. Physical changes to your teeth
  9. Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw (such as speaking or swallowing)
  10. Swollen lips or gums
  11. Lumps in the mouth, around the gums, or on the lips

If you notice any of these symptoms, call Dr. Blake Dentistry as soon as possible to schedule an oral cancer screening. Early detection often leads to improved treatment results. 

Contributing Factors

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine who is more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. However, various factors can increase a patient’s risk. 

  •     Using tobacco
  •     Drinking alcohol in excess
  •     Constant or severe sun exposure
  •     Previous diagnosis of oral or lip cancer

Men are also twice as likely to have oral cancer than women. In fact, oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer for men. Generally, however, those who frequently drink or smoke tobacco have a significantly higher risk of oral cancer than others.

What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening in Durango, CO

An oral cancer screening is similar to a typical dental exam. First, your dentist will review and update your medical history, including learning about your current medications, concerns, and overall health. 

After Dr. Blake verifies your medical history, he moves on to the visual examination. He pays close attention to both the inside and outside of your mouth, looking for any signs of gum disease or cancer. Unlike a typical dental exam, a cancer screening includes a visual examination of your neck, head, and cheeks. 

Should your dentist find any lumps, discoloration, sores, or any other signs of oral cancer, he will likely recommend you to an oral surgeon. 

How to Protect Your Oral Health

The best way to protect your oral health is to schedule regular cleanings and exams at least twice a year. The dental team at Dr. Blake Brown Dentistry is passionate about helping fellow Durango residents maintain bright and healthy smiles. 

Let Dr. Blake Brown help you protect your smile. Call us at (970) 247-9549 to schedule a cleaning or oral cancer screening in Durango, CO.