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At Mooney Dental, we care about every aspect of your oral health. We understand that a key part of maintaining a healthy smile is the early detection of oral cancer. That’s why we offer oral cancer screenings as part of our comprehensive dental services.
Oral Cancer Screening in Woburn, MA

Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Cancer can develop in the oral cavity unnoticed, often presenting no pain or noticeable symptoms until it progresses to advanced stages, but early detection of oral cancer can dramatically increase the effectiveness of treatment. Regular oral examinations can spot abnormalities or changes in your mouth that could indicate the presence of precancerous lesions or oral cancer itself.

How Often Should You Get an Oral Cancer Screening?

For most individuals, we recommend an oral cancer screening as part of your regular dental check-up, typically every six months. However, those with a higher risk may need more frequent visits. Our dentist can develop a personalized screening schedule that best fits your individual health needs.

What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening

During your clinical examination, our dentists will conduct a visual inspection to thoroughly examine your mouth, lips, tongue, and throat for any abnormalities like sores, red or white patches, or lumps. They may also palpate your neck and jaw to detect any unusual growths. If any signs of abnormal cancer cells are detected, they may conduct additional screening tests using advanced technology like a special light that can detect abnormal tissue.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Major risk factors for oral cavity cancer include:

  • using tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco products)
  • heavy alcohol consumption
  • prolonged sun exposure without sunscreen
  • a history of oral HPV

Additional risk factors include being male, old age, and frequent UV light exposure.

Signs & Symptoms of Oral Cancer

While oral cancer may not present obvious symptoms in its earliest stages, there are some signs that may indicate early-stage cancer:

  • suspicious lesions or sores on the gum tissue that don’t heal
  • white or red patches in the mouth
  • lumps or thickened areas in the mouth or throat
  • difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • persistent hoarseness or sore throat
  • family history of cancer
  • persistent bad breath along with any of the above symptoms

If you notice any of these signs of cancer, we urge you to schedule an appointment at our dental office for a comprehensive examination as soon as possible.

Oral Cancer Treatment Options

If our dentist notices abnormal tissue or other signs during your oral exam or dental cleaning, we may recommend getting additional tests and a biopsy with a health professional. If you do receive an oral cancer diagnosis, there are a variety of high-tech treatment options available, and the best approach will depend on the specific type, location, and stage of the cancer, as well as your overall health.
  • Surgery: This is often the first step in treating oral cancer. The primary goal is to remove all cancerous cells, and sometimes nearby lymph nodes are removed as well, especially if you have neck cancer. For cancers that are detected early, surgical removal may be the only treatment needed.
  • Radiation Therapy: This treatment uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: This is a systemic treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used in conjunction with radiation therapy or when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Targeted Therapy: This newer form of treatment uses drugs that specifically target the changes in cancer cells that help them grow and spread, causing less harm to normal cells.
At Mooney Dental, our dental professionals are dedicated to ensuring your oral health. Regular oral cancer examinations and early detection are key to fighting oral cancer. Oral cancer doesn’t have to be a deadly disease, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule your dental exam and oral cancer screening today and take the first step towards safeguarding your health and your smile.
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