Early Detection and Treatment
Dr. Fredric Gaeta is not only dedicated to your smile but your overall wellness. That’s why our holistic approach to dental care includes providing you with an oral cancer screening as a part of your regular exam. Like other forms of cancer, oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early.
At our Kailua-Kona practice, Dr. Gaeta and our expert staff have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and precancerous conditions are caught in time. Read on to learn more about screenings and when it may be time to schedule an appointment.
The Oral Cancer Screening Process
Our Kailua-Kona dental team is trained to detect cancerous and precancerous conditions for oral cancer. The process itself is quick and simply involves examining your entire oral cavity. Along with a visual examination of your mouth, we’ll also feel the tissue of your mouth and throat to check for any abnormalities.
If we find an area of concern, we may perform a simple test, such as a brush test. A brush test collects cells from a suspicious lesion in the mouth to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If this test comes back atypical or positive, we may recommend a biopsy.
The Importance of Early Detection
According to the American Cancer Society, early detection and treatment of oral cancer can help increase your survival rate. Oral cancer is 90 percent curable, which is why early diagnosis and treatment are so important.
Oral cancer screenings may be performed at your regular biannual appointments with Dr. Gaeta. It’s recommended that you get screened at least once a year, though this depends on your age and oral health.
Signs of Oral Cancer
While symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, it’s crucial to visit our Kailua-Kona office to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
- Red or white spots or sores anywhere in the oral cavity
- A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- A lump, thickening, or rough spot
- Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
Frequently Asked Questions
While you’ll likely undergo an oral cancer screening at your biannual dental visit, patients over the age of 20 can choose to undergo screenings every three years. Patients over the age of 40, however, should undergo screenings every year. This also depends on your oral health and risk factors.
Aside from receiving an oral cancer screening during your checkup at our office, there are many things you can do to help prevent oral cancer, such as:
- Avoid tobacco products
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet
- Limit your exposure to the sun
- Wear UV-A/B-blocking sun-protective lotions on your skin and lips
- Attend routine dental exams
During your biannual appointment, Dr. Gaeta can provide you with further instructions on how to care for your oral health to help prevent oral cancer.
There are several risk factors associated with oral cancer, such as:
- Use tobacco products
- Have a genetic disposition
- Have HPV
- Consume heavy amounts of alcohol
- Have been previously diagnosed with oral cancer
- Have a history of heavy sun exposure
If any of these risk factors apply to you, it may be time for a screening. Contact our Kailua-Kona office today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Gaeta.
Schedule Your Screening Appointment Today
Oral cancer is a serious yet largely curable oral health condition. Early detection is crucial to treatment, which is why you should schedule an oral cancer screening as instructed by Dr. Gaeta.
To schedule an appointment, call our Kailua-Kona office at (808) 329-3314. You can also fill out our convenient contact form and a team member will get back to you shortly.