Ringwood Family Dental
Harsh Shah, DMD

Oral Cancer Screening

Because they are the ones looking in your mouth regularly, dentists are usually the first ones to notice anything suspicious such as cancer or irritated tissue. At Ringwood Family Dental, Dr. Shah has introduced new technology that detects suspicious lesions in their earliest stages, when they are easiest to treat.

VELscope uses fluorescence to identify pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions on your tongue, throat, lips, palate, and gum tissue. Oral cancer is serious and affects approximately 48,000 Americans each year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

The Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

While some cases of oral cancer cannot be explained, some risk factors do increase your chances of developing oral cancer:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol
  • Human papilloma virus
  • Genetics
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight
  • Constant irritation – biting or rubbing from dentures or bruxism
  • Certain autoimmune conditions
  • Age – older people are more likely to get oral cancer
  • Being male

Oral cancer can be a particularly devastating form of cancer. As with all cancers, early detection followed by early treatment can improve your prognosis dramatically.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Sometimes, cancer lesions can go undetected in the mouth. They may not cause pain or alarm because you might not notice them. This is one of the many reasons that regular dental exams are essential to your overall health. 

If oral cancer does present symptoms, it may include:

  • A persistent lesion that will not heal
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Discolored tissue – white, red, or a combination of both
  • Numbness
  • Hoarseness
  • A feeling of something caught in your throat
  • Changes in the fit of your dentures

If anything feels off or you have noticed changes in your mouth, let us know. We can help! 

Oral Cancer Screening

At your regular dental visit, we perform a soft tissue evaluation along with an exam of your teeth. We will use VELscope to illuminate any abnormal lesions or even small groups of cells that are not yet detectible with a visual exam alone. If Dr. Shah sees anything that requires further evaluation, he will refer you to an oral surgeon for a biopsy.

Dentures and Oral Cancer

Even if you have complete dentures, you still need regular dental exams. We will examine your dentures for wear, check for sore spots, and perform an oral cancer screening.

People who wear dentures are not exempt from oral cancer. In fact, some researchers believe that constant trauma from denture sores may increase your risk. 

A regular dental exam can save your life!

Contact Us to Schedule Your Next Dental Exam

You don’t have to pay anything extra for your oral cancer screening. It is part of each patient’s comprehensive exam in our office. If you smoke or use alcohol, it is especially important that you have regular evaluations.

Contact our Ringwood, NJ dental office to schedule a dental appointment and take an important step toward protecting your health.

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