Our Doctors Screen for Oral Cancer

When you visit us here at Empress Walk Dental, your dentist and hygienist will be sure to screen you for oral cancer. Screening is not painful, and diagnosing oral cancer is simple. If symptoms of oral cancer are recognized with an annual oral cancer exam, the disease can be treated very effectively, particularly in its beginning stages.

What Is Oral Cancer and Where Does It Occur?

Sometimes oral cancer can be difficult to recognize if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why all of our dentists and hygienists at Empress Walk Dental are trained to check all of our patients for signs of oral cancer – we are the experts so you don’t have to be. After all, we are here to protect your health!

There are several types of oral cancer, some of them:

  • Teratoma (a tumor with tissue or organ components)
  • Adenocarcinoma (derived from a major or minor salivary gland)
  • Lymphoma (from tonsillar or other lymphoid tissue)
  • Melanoma (from the pigment-producing cells of the oral mucosa)
  • Malignant squamous cell carcinoma (originating in lip and mouth tissues, 90% of oral cancers are this type)

There are many different areas of the oral cavity and maxillofacial zone in which oral cancers usually occur, including:

  • Lips
  • Mouth
  • Tongue
  • Salivary Glands
  • Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
  • Gums
  • Face

The most common places to get oral cancer are the mouth and the tongue. At Empress Dental, we make sure that our dentists and hygienists check all of these areas as a part of our oral cancer screening process

What Are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer?

It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Your dentist can provide literature and education on making lifestyle changes and smoking cessation.

Research shows that approximately 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with lifestyle choices like:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol

Your Empress Dental dentist will be happy to recommend resources for you to learn more about reducing lifestyle risks that contribute to the development of oral cancer. For example, quitting smoking is an excellent step that many of our patients take to reduce their risk of getting oral cancer.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

If you see anything unusual on your tongue, gums, mouth, or other areas of your face, you should talk to a health professional as soon as you can. At Empress Dental, our dentists and hygienists know the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, and they will be on the lookout for any noticeable changes to the landscape of your mouth region.

Some of the signs they typically look for include:

  • Red patches and sores – Red patches on the bottom of the mouth or the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink areas that don’t heal, and slow-healing sores that bleed readily can sometimes indicate the presence of oral cancer.
  • Leukoplakia – This is a tough gray or white, slightly raised abrasion that can occur any place inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous, or may develop into cancer if they go unnoticed and are not treated promptly.
  • Lumps – Tenderness or other discomfort, lumps, or the swelling or thickening of tissue anywhere in the mouth or throat can also be a sign that cancer is developing.

What Is the Oral Cancer Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Process Like?

Screening for oral cancer is simple, noninvasive, and painless. Your Empress Dental dentist will first examine your mouth, face, glands, and neck for any visual deformities. Then, he or she will feel along your neck to check for lumps or bumps on the glands, face, or neck.

If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan. In the event that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed. The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion.

Oral cancer is deemed to be present when the basement membrane of the epithelium has been broken. Malignant types of cancer can readily spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions, posing additional secondary threats.

Treatment methods depend upon the type of cancer and how it is progressing. Some treatment options include:

  • Excision
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Empress Walk Dental’s dentists and hygienists always check for changes and unusual sores in the mouth whenever patients come to see us at our Toronto and North York locations, but because early detection and treatment is key to stopping oral cancer, we complete oral cancer screenings for our patients at all regular twice-yearly check-ups.

Questions or concerns about oral cancer? Want to know more? Your Empress Walk Dental dentist and hygienist are happy to discuss this topic with you further when you come in for your appointment.

To schedule your regular check-up and oral cancer screening today, give us a call at 416-250-8000!

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Our Office

5095 Yonge St, Unit A1, North York, ON M2N 6Z4

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