Checking for Oral Cancer

During your twice-yearly exams with our team at Kalil & Kress, we do more than simply make your teeth look shiny and bright. Sure, removing tartar and plaque and polishing your teeth are important. But even more important is our examination for the signs of oral cancer. That’s why Dr. Kalil and Dr. Kress will pull on your tongue, check your glands, and perform other brief diagnostic exercises. We end the oral cancer portion of your appointment with a VELscope test. This new technology illuminates the inside of the mouth, where suspect tissue appears darker than healthy tissue, which shows up as bright green.

Since we’re always on the lookout for oral cancer at Kalil & Kress, here’s some more information on this growing problem.

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer is described as cancer that begins in the oral cavity. This can include the lips, the inside lining of the lips and cheeks, the teeth, gums, most of the tongue, the bottom of the mouth, and the hard palate.

Symptoms of oral cancer

As part of your home hygiene, we recommend being on the lookout for any signs of oral cancer. These are some of the most common signs or symptoms:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal is the most common symptom of oral cancer
  • Persistent mouth pain, in contrast to tooth pain
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or lining of the mouth
  • A sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or other areas inside the mouth
  • Jaw swelling
  • Loosening teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Persistent bad breath

If Dr. Kalil or Dr. Kress finds any suspicious lesions (lumps, bumps, or sores) during your exam, they will usually opt to remove the growth and send it off to the lab for evaluation. Most of these growths prove to be benign, but if they are cancerous they key to treatment success is catching them early. That’s one of the reasons we ask our patients to be diligent about keeping their twice-yearly exams with us.

Is it time for your regular exam and cleaning? Call us at Kalil & Kress, (603) 880-7004, to make your appointment.

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