Screening for oral cancer at our dental office saves lives

Happy man after having oral cancer screening

A “dental home” where “everybody knows your name” is a must for good overall health, not just for the health and beauty of your smile. Cancers of the oral cavity (mouth) and throat present one of the biggest threats to your health. You can minimize these by partnering with skilled dental professionals like Dr. Dan Hwang and the team at Creo Dentistry in Marysville, Washington. And as with other cancers (and conditions), detecting and treating problems early into the disease process supports successful, non-traumatic, and prompt cancer resolution (or pre-cancerous lesion). It is not an overstatement to say that screening saves lives.  

Routine care for a long, happy life 

From infants to the most “experienced” senior patients among us, all patients should keep routine “checkups” at our practice. The standard checkup is scheduled once every six months. During these regular visits, Dr. Hwang examines not only your teeth and gums, but he also checks for abnormalities associated with the tongue, lips, gums, cheeks, floor, and roof of your mouth, jaws, and other tissues. So, these inspections are not just about confirming that teeth are decay-free and gums are not diseased. He may feel by touch for unusual lumps or bumps. He may also look for white patches, suspect sores, leathery spots, redness, or other types of discoloration. 

Be prepared to discuss any changes you may have noticed, too; for example, these cancers may present as persistent or recurrent sore spots that refuse to heal fully. You may also experience sudden changes when chewing food or swallowing. Some of our patients describe a feeling that there is something “stuck” in their throats. Their voices may change, and they can experience hoarseness or slurred speech. Pain may radiate to the ears, and swelling can be so pronounced that dentures (and other oral appliances) no longer fit as they used to. 

In addition to his keen eye and oral pathology knowledge, Dr. Hwang can apply advanced diagnostics to get a closer look at potential trouble spots. He also partners with some of the area’s top labs. If a suspicious area is pinpointed, a small tissue sample may be taken (biopsied) and analyzed by one of our partners. Together, all these insights and technologies provide peace of mind; these and other potentially serious problems can be precisely removed, monitored, or otherwise effectively addressed. Since care is so personalized to each person’s needs and our findings, the path to restoring your oral and overall health and wellbeing varies considerably from patient to patient. 

Regardless of your needs, we encourage you not to wait for sudden pain or persistent problems to arise to contact us

During these checkups, we can also assess your risks for oral cancers. We work closely with our patients to minimize or eliminate risks, such as smoking, tobacco use, and good oral hygiene and nutrition challenges. We also stay on top of health and life changes that can increase your risks and our recommendations for care. Our findings during each appointment are tracked and may be compared from visit to visit. So, we can isolate changes and patterns. That again informs the development of a proactive treatment or maintenance plan. Be advised that if you have risks, we will want to see you more than two times each year. Call Creo Dentistry in Marysville, WA today at (360) 502-7217 to schedule your checkup.