Oral Cancer Screening


According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 43,000 Americans will suffer from oral cancer this year. In addition, nearly 75 percent of oral cancers are not diagnosed until in advanced stages, making the importance of receiving regular oral cancer screenings just as vital to your overall health as receiving regular physical examinations.

By providing oral cancer screenings to his patients, we can help improve survival rates of patients diagnosed with oral cancer by detecting oral abnormalities before they reach a critical stage. Some people are at a higher risk for suffering at least one instance of oral cancer, especially if they:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Chew tobacco
  • Are moderate to heavy alcohol drinkers
  • Suffer from systemic diseases that compromise healthy functioning of the immune system
  • Have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease called HPV (human papilloma virus accounts for over 15 percent of oral cancers)
  • Have very poor oral hygiene

Our team strongly urges anyone with one or more of these risk factors to get twice yearly oral cancer screenings for possible early detection. For people that don’t have these risk factors, he recommends getting yearly screenings. Oral cancer screenings are quick, painless, and affordable.

Signs of Possible Oral Cancer

  • Mouth sores that do not heal
  • Unexplained numbness in the lips or mouth
  • Unusually thick, crusty lumps on oral tissues
  • Chronically sore throat or lumpy feeling in the throat
  • White or red patches on the tongue, tonsils or gums
  • Difficulty swallowing or moving the tongue
  • Loosening of teeth in the absence of periodontal disease

While these are common warning signs of oral cancer, they do not definitively mean that an oral cancer condition exists.  If you experience any of these symptoms, you should schedule an oral cancer screening at our office to determine the cause.

About Oral Cancer and Oral Cancer Screenings

The majority of oral cancers originate in abnormal squamous cell activity. Squamous cells are found on the lips, inside the mouth, and in the throat. If someone at Southern Shores Dental discovers squamous cell carcinoma lesions during a cancer screening, we will initiate treatment plans that begin with either a biopsy or a procedure that involves collecting cells from the oral cavity using a scraper.

In addition to a visual inspection of the mouth, our team may examine your lymph nodes by pressing them to detect any swelling or abnormal mass. He will also look for evidence of erythroplakias, or reddish areas existing within the mouth that are often found to contain cancer cells following a biopsy.

For more information about oral cancer screenings or to make an appointment for an oral screening procedure, contact us or call 803-359-6143 (office) to talk to one of our friendly and helpful dental assistants or scheduling coordinator.