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Family Dentistry

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is one of the most important things that dental professionals can do for their patients. Over 34,000 new cases of squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth and pharynx are diagnosed every year, and there are nearly 8,000 fatalities. As with all forms of cancer, early detection is key. That’s why we make sure to conduct a thorough oral cancer examination on each of our biannual cleaning patients.

During your screening, Dr. Gross or Dr. Kaplan will evaluate your teeth, gums and temporomandibular joints (TMJs) and inspect your head and neck. Your neck and face will be palpated, along with your tongue, lips, gum tissue and cheeks. Finally, the dentist will peer into your throat. Any lumps, bumps or changes will be noted and discussed with you.

Changes in the mouth are fairly common, but in most instances, they are not indicative of oral cancer. Should we find any pathologies, however, we will discuss and show you the area and determine the best course of action. We may wait for a couple weeks to see if the area heals. We may take a simple “brush biopsy” to gently remove a few cells for analysis by a pathology laboratory. Finally, we may refer you for a consultation for biopsy, where a larger piece of tissue is removed and sent to a pathology laboratory for analysis.