Each year 36,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral Cancer.  The death rate from oral cancer is very high; about 43% of those diagnosed will not survive more than 5 years.  This alarming statistic is directly related to two factors; lifestyle choices and late stage detection.

At Oral Dynamics we are committed to early detection when cure and survival are most likely.  Even pre-cancerous tissue changes can often be detected.  At every examination visit, we do a visual and tactile exploration of your mouth, chin and neck.  Additionally, we use the VelScope fluorescent light to screen for tissue abnormalities.  If something seems suspicious, we may use a dye (vizilite-blue) for definition, or a brush biopsy to collect cells for microscopic examination.  Finally, for a definitive diagnosis, a tissue biopsy will be performed.

Risk Factors

Tobacco us and alcohol consumption are the leading causes of oral cancers.  Not using tobacco is the single most important thing you can do to avoid oral cancer.  All forms of tobacco are bad.  Alcohol should be used in moderation.

HPV viral infections are increasingly being viewed as a causative agent in oral cancers in younger, non-smoking men and women.

Other risk factors include sun exposure, age, low intake of fruits and vegetables, use of betel nut and race, ethnicity and economics.

Signs and Symptoms

In the early stages of oral cancer’s development, it often is painless, and the physical signs may not be obvious.  This makes it a very dangerous disease.  Regular screenings by a qualified medical or dental professional, combined with a person’s knowledge of the warning signs and symptoms, will allow its discovery in the earliest possible stages, when cure and survival are most likely.  Even pre-cancerous tissue changes can often be detected by a trained professional.

Early Detection

  • Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Any sore which does not heal within 14 days
  • Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time

Advanced Indicators

  • A sensation that something is stuck in your throat
  • Numbness in the oral region
  • Difficulty in moving jaw or tongue
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Ear pain which occurs on one side only
  • A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal
  • A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck