Oral Cancer Screenings Specialist

West End Dental

General Dentists & Cosmetic Dentists located in Downtown, DC and Foggy Bottom, DC, Washington, DC

Every year, more than 53,000 Americans receive a diagnosis of oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings provide an effective way to catch potentially serious problems early on, before they get worse. At West End Dental in Downtown Washington, DC, Lauren Izadi, DDS, Edward Kim, MS, DDS, and the team provide visual oral cancer screenings onsite. To schedule an appointment, book a consultation online, or call the office to speak with a member of the administrative staff today.

Oral Cancer Screenings Q&A

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is a deadly disease that causes your cells to divide uncontrollably and destroy tissue. Oral cancer typically appears as a sore or ulcer on your tongue or gums and gets progressively worse over time. 

Though anyone can experience oral cancer, several factors may increase your risk, including smoking, chewing tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption. 

What are oral cancer screenings?

Oral cancer screenings are a type of preventive exam used to detect and diagnose oral cancer before it spreads to other parts of your body. In its early stages, oral cancer presents few symptoms. The qualified providers at West End Dental know how to spot tell-tale warning signs, ensuring prompt intervention and treatment.

What happens during oral cancer screenings?

At West End Dental the team provides visual oral cancer screening, but they don’t offer tests like biopsies. If your provider spots an abnormality, they can refer you to a cancer specialist in the area.

During an oral cancer screening your provider conducts a thorough oral exam, carefully observing all parts of your mouth, including the:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Salivary glands
  • Throat
  • Gums
  • Face

Your provider looks for three specific signs of cancer:

Red patches and sores

Oral cancer often causes changes to the soft tissues in your mouth. If your provider notices any red patches or slow-healing sores, it may indicate cancerous growths. 

Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is a white or grey hardened lesion. They can occur anywhere in the mouth but are especially common on the gums and underneath the tongue. Leukoplakia doesn’t always indicate cancer, but without proper treatment, these growths may become cancerous.

Lumps

Lumps, bumps, and the thickening of oral tissue often indicate oral pathologies like cancer. If your provider discovers a lump, they may refer you to a professional in the area who can conduct a biopsy. 

How often should I undergo an oral cancer screening?

The team at West End Dental recommends you undergo an oral cancer screening at least once a year. Even if your mouth feels healthy and problem-free, issues may lurk below the surface. Your dentist can quickly spot signs of potential danger, taking prompt action before it gets worse. 

To learn more about the benefits of oral cancer screenings, schedule an appointment at West End Dental. Book a consultation online, or call the office to speak with a member of the administrative staff today.