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Oral Cancer Screening
Dentist Anchorage, AK

Anchorage Dentist consulting a patient on Oral Cancer before an oral cancer screening at, Spalding Dental.Cancer is a scary word that invokes a significant amount of fear and anxiety. It is a devastating disease that can affect various parts of the body. Oral cancer is the largest category of cancer affecting the head and neck regions. It can begin just about anywhere in the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, or near the entrance of the throat. Over 40,000 Americans are affected by oral cancer every year. It can be fatal if not detected, and treated, early. However, the early stages of oral cancer are very difficult to detect, which leaves many people not noticing anything wrong until later stages. At Spalding Dental, we perform oral cancer screenings during every dental exam, helping to detect the early warning signs and get you the treatment you need right away.

How Do I Know if I Am at Risk?

While oral cancer can affect just about anyone, there are certain factors that can increase your risk. These factors include
•  A family history. Those who have close blood relatives who have had oral cancer are at an increased risk.
•  Lifestyle habits. Tobacco and alcohol use can significantly increase your risk.
•  Certain strains of HPV. Of the many strains, only just a handful are linked to oral cancer, with HPV16 having the strongest connection.
•  Your age. Older adults are more at risk than younger adults. Men over the age of 55 have the greatest risk.

What are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

There are multiple symptoms that can point toward oral cancer. The earliest symptoms, however, are often difficult to detect. Your regular dental exams are crucial for this purpose. In addition to checking your mouth for signs of tooth damage, decay, cavities, and gum disease, we also look for any signs of abnormalities that can point toward oral cancer. We are highly experienced in detecting the earliest warning signs. Common symptoms that can point toward oral cancer include
•  Unusual growths in your soft tissues.
•  Red or white patches.
•  Sores or ulcers that will not heal, even after two weeks.
•  A change in your bite.
•  You have trouble biting, chewing, or swallowing.
•  You notice a numb feeling in your chin or jaw.

Diagnosing Oral Cancer

Your regular dental exams are only one step in diagnosing oral cancer. If we do detect anything unusual in your mouth, a closer examination is needed. During this exam, not only do we visually look over the abnormality, but we also take X-rays as well. We also perform a soft tissue biopsy. This procedure involves removing a small portion of the abnormality to examine the cells under a microscope. There are multiple types of biopsies, including incisional, excisional, punch, and brush. Using a soft tissue biopsy, we can determine the presence of cancerous and precancerous cells. If cancerous or precancerous cells are detected, the entire abnormality is removed from your mouth. If this does not eliminate oral cancer, you will then be recommended for further treatment.

Oral cancer screenings are an integral part of your regular dental exams. However, if you notice anything wrong, it is important to call the office immediately. For more information, call Spalding Dental at (907) 276-7366 today.
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Spalding Dental's accepts Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, United Concordia Dental, Delta Dental, Aetna, Moba Health, Cigna, Tricare and Medicaid insurance providers

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