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Oral Cancer Exam Specialist

Global Facial Aesthetics

Cosmetic Dentists & Implant Specialist located in River Forest, IL

Each year, more than 54,000 Americans receive an oral cancer diagnosis. At Global Facial Aesthetics, Gary Alder, DDS, FAGD, DAAPM, and Irene Skirius, DDS, conduct oral cancer exams to catch potentially serious issues when they’re most responsive to treatment. To make an appointment at the practice in River Forest, Illinois, call the office to speak with a friendly staff member or click the online booking tool.

Oral Cancer Exam Q&A

What is oral cancer?

Oral cancer causes the cells in your mouth or throat to divide uncontrollably and spread into the surrounding tissues. The disease affects people of all ages, but it’s especially common in people 40 and older. 

Oral cancer doesn’t always present obvious symptoms in the beginning stages of development. Routine dental exams present an opportunity to detect it early on when it’s most responsive to treatment. 

What is an oral cancer exam?

An oral cancer exam is an outpatient procedure that detects cancerous or precancerous cells affecting the tongue, cheeks, lips, or gums. 

During an oral cancer exam, your provider assesses the health and appearance of the floor and roof of your mouth, the back of your throat, and the lymph nodes in your neck. Then, they ask about your symptoms and order a series of digital X-rays to detect issues invisible to the naked eye.

What if the results of an oral cancer exam are abnormal?

If the results of your oral cancer exam are abnormal, and your provider detects a potentially cancerous growth, they conduct a brush or tissue biopsy. 

Brush biopsy

During a brush biopsy, your provider uses a handheld tool to brush a sample of cells onto a slide. Your provider places the slide under a microscope and determines if the cells are cancerous.

Tissue biopsy

During a tissue biopsy, your provider administers a local anesthetic and carefully removes a piece of abnormal tissue from your mouth. Then, they place the tissue under a microscope to determine if the cells are cancerous.

Can an oral cancer exam help guide treatment?

Yes. If Global Facial Aesthetics determines you have oral cancer, the team can refer you to an oncologist (cancer doctor) who can develop a treatment plan that aligns with your individual needs. 

Treatment of oral cancer depends on the type and severity, as well as your age and health history. Depending on your needs, treatment might include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

In addition, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene and attend routine dental exams.

Is there any way to prevent oral cancer?

There’s no way to prevent oral cancer entirely, but you can significantly lower your risk by not using tobacco and limiting your intake of alcohol. In addition, brush and floss daily and visit Global Facial Aesthetics at least two times a year for an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning.

To learn more about an oral cancer exam, make an appointment at Global Facial Aesthetics by calling the office to speak with a caring administrative staff member or by clicking the online booking tool.