About Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is relatively easy to treat when detected early, but its initial symptoms can sometimes be hard to spot with untrained eyes. That’s why we include a complete oral cancer screening as part of every routine checkup. We’ll take a close look at your mouth and the surrounding areas for any suspicious sores or growths, and if we find something that causes concern, we’ll help you get the follow-up care you need right away.
Your Dental Checkup Could Save Your Life
Oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the world. It causes the deaths of over 9,750 Americans each year, and only slightly more than half of patients who have been diagnosed with the disease will live longer than 5 more years. Fortunately, the chances of survival are greatly improved if the cancer is identified and treated during its earliest stages. That’s why Dr. Hamlett performs an oral cancer screening as part of a dental checkup. If it’s been a while since your last visit, make an appointment today; it could save your life.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
The signs of oral cancer might be mistaken for those of a toothache or a cold at first. Contact Dr. Hamlett as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms last for several weeks:
- Persistent pain or sores in the mouth that don’t go away
- A lump or thickening in your cheek
- Red and white patches on the gums, tongue, tonsil or lining of the mouth
- A sore throat
- Difficulty with swallowing, chewing, moving the jaw, or moving the tongue
- A numb feeling on the tongue or inside the mouth
- Swollen jaws
- Loosened teeth
- Lump in the neck or voice changes
- Losing weight
- Constant bad breath
"Dr. La Mastra is super cool and amazing, especially for someone who has dental phobia like me. I've been with him for years and followed him to his new place recently. He did my implant and crown which was a great experience. Dr. La Mastra is caring and I feel relaxed when he enters the room. The entire staff is friendly and helpful. His assistant Cindy is fun and conversational, my hygienist Cindy (same name) makes teeth cleaning comfortable and informative when it comes to oral care and Parker at the front desk makes you feel like family. Always a good experience!"- K.M. / Google / Aug 04, 2021
"Carol the hygienist and Dr La Mastra are top notch. I avoided the dentist most of my life because I was afraid - but the entire office is super nice and welcoming."- L.W. / Google / Oct 06, 2021
"I came to Texas 11 years ago and have been using Dr. Hamlett ever since. He has done extensive work in my mouth including restoration after having implant. I am not an easy patient to work on since I have a fear of dentist. Dr. Hamlett and his staff have always taken this into account and handled me with extra care and compassion. I will always remember Dr. Hamlett and his team fondly.Hugs,Teresa Taylor"- T.T. / Yelp / Jun 15, 2021
"Dr. Hamlett has been my dentist for many years, and has done various procedures for my dental health. He has always done an excellent, professional job. He is kind, and terrific at making each treatment as comfortable and pleasant as possible. It is important to me that I trust him.I highly recommend him!"- D.H. / Google / Jun 06, 2021
"I have been going to Dr. Hamlett for many years. He is professional, kind, and knows what he is doing! He has performed a number of services for me, and has always done an incredible job. I am always a little anxious getting dental work, but he makes it so much easier and much more pleasant. I trust him, and that is important to me! "- D. / Healthgrades / Jun 06, 2021
What Does My Dentist Look for During the Screening?
Dr. Hamlett will check your oral cavity and its connected tissues to see if there are any problems. He’ll be specifically looking for asymmetries, swellings, bumps, patches of color, cuts, and other potential signs of larger underlying health issues. In addition to a visual inspection, he’ll also feel for unusual masses and immobility in tissue that normally moves.
If a possible sign of oral cancer is found, you may be referred for further tests. This won’t necessarily mean that you have cancer; it’s simply meant to help you get an accurate diagnosis that will help you avoid larger health problems later.
What Can I Expect During My Screening?
First, Dr. Hamlett will visually inspect your face, neck, lips, inside of your nose and your oral cavity for abnormalities. This might involve using a tongue depressor, a light, and other tools. After that, he’ll perform a physical exam by feeling the head and cheeks, around the jaw, under the chin and inside the oral cavity. You might be asked to swallow or describe the presence of any pain.
Oral cancer screenings FAQs
What are my treatment options for oral cancer?
Throat cancer treatment depends on the specifics of your situation, such as the stage of your cancer and whether it has spread to other areas. Most people can expect to discuss surgery and radiation therapy after an oral cancer diagnosis.
Where does oral cancer occur?
Most cases of oral cancer occur in the tongue or floor of the mouth but can also happen in the upper or lower jaw, gums, lips, and cheeks. This is why our Dallas dental professionals recommend a comprehensive checkup each year.
Who is most at risk for oral cancer?
People who smoke or use tobacco are much more likely to develop oral cancer. Heavy alcohol drinkers are also at risk. Our team encourages smokers to quit as soon as possible to improve their overall and oral health.