The importance of oral cancer screenings in San Antonio TX

Each year, there are thousands of people in the United States diagnosed with oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that nearly 54,000 will be diagnosed with Oral Cancer, causing around 9,750 deaths. Oral cavity or mouth cancers are considered deadlier than breast and prostate cancers. However, oral cancers have a higher rate of successful treatment when detected early. As your trusted partners in oral health, Miner Dental is on the front lines of detecting and protecting you and your family from oral cancers. The screening process conducted by Dr. Philip Miner is nothing to fear; it is straightforward, integrated into routine recall appointments, and an absolute must for your overall health and wellbeing.

Early diagnosis

Oral cancer or mouth cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of the disease. Researchers at the Oral Cancer Foundation say that an early diagnosis is the best way to reduce deaths associated with it. At Miner Dental in San Antonio, we are dedicated to doing our part to provide an earlier diagnosis for oral cancer. We will routinely perform a quick and comfortable oral cancer screening using advanced OralID® technology during your six-month dental exam. Read on to learn more or call our friendly team to schedule your exam and oral cancer screenings in our San Antonio, TX dental office.

The process

During your recall visits to our practice, we will screen you for any abnormalities that indicate the presence of oral cancers or precancerous conditions, such as leukoplakia, characterized by white or grey patches. Without the trained eye of dental professionals and the tools that “see” what cannot be identified upon visual inspection alone, it is easy for early-stage precancers and cancers to go undetected. Routinely, these cancers are discovered late. As cancers spread to other parts of the body, they are much harder to treat successfully and non-traumatically. It is indeed not an overstatement when we say that screening at the dentist’s office and related early detection saves lives.

During your screening, the dentist will gently palpate (or feel by touch) areas of the face, mouth, neck, and head, looking for potential trouble signs, such as:

  • Facial asymmetry
  • Facial drooping
  • Lumps
  • Swelling

He will also assess your tongue movements to check for any potential problems. It will help if you inform your dentist about any changes you may have experienced since your last visit. These changes include the feeling that something is “stuck” in your throat and cannot be removed. You may experience sudden numbness, hoarseness, or a persistent sore throat. If Dr. Miner finds a suspicious area, he may apply a safe and painless blue dye to it. The pigment absorbs abnormal cells, which makes it easier for your doctor to see them. We may also take a small tissue sample to be biopsied or evaluated further. Additional tests may be requested by head and neck surgeons or other specialists.

Prevention for your lifelong health

Many factors put you at increased risk of developing oral cancers. We will work with you to identify and address those risks. It would help if you stopped smoking and using other tobacco products, heavy alcohol use, and unprotected exposure to harmful UV light (sun damage).

We are privileged to develop long-term relationships with our patients and their families. And we look forward to supporting you and your family along your evolving health journey. Call (210) 934-5265 today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Philip Miner. Please do not wait for concerning changes to arise for you to reach out to us!