Oral Cancer Screenings

Carmen Castillo, DDS -  - General Dentist

Carmen Castillo, DDS

General Dentist & Cosmetic Dentist located in South Bay, Manhattan Beach, CA

Oral Cancer Screenings Specialist
Oral cancer can be difficult to detect, which makes it more likely to spread to other areas. Dr. Carmen Castillo is a trusted provider of oral cancer screenings and uses advanced methods at her Manhattan Beach dental practice.

Oral Cancer Screenings Q & A

by Carmen Castillo, DDS

Why do I need to have an oral cancer screening?

Oral cancer screening is the best way to identify cancer in its earliest stages so treatment can begin as soon as possible and the spread of disease can be prevented. Screenings involve both a visual and tactile evaluation of the gums. The dentist checks the insides of the cheeks and the palate to look for abnormal areas of tissue. Signs of oral cancer include tissue that's unnaturally red or appears whitish or gray as well as tissue that feels rough to the touch.

How often are oral cancer screenings performed?

Oral cancer screenings are typically performed once each year. In some patients, including those with risk factors for oral cancer, screening may be performed more frequently, such as during each check-up and cleaning appointment.

What is ViziLite oral cancer screening?

ViziLite is an FDA-approved system designed to help dentists identify signs of oral cancer more effectively. The ViziLite uses a simple handheld wand which emits light as it is passed over the soft tissues of the mouth. Healthy tissue absorbs this light and appears normal. Abnormal areas of tissue reflect the light, making them more visible so they can be isolated and evaluated more closely. The ViziLite exam takes just a few moments to perform and it's completely painless.

What symptoms can oral cancer cause?

Depending on where it's located and how advanced the cancer is, symptoms can include:

  • Blotchy patches that are a different color from the surrounding tissue
  • Lumps or rough-textured areas on the palate, gums or other soft tissues
  • Numbness or unexplained bleeding in the mouth or throat
  • Mouth sores that take more than two weeks to resolve
  • Painful swallowing or a┬ápersistent sore throat
  • Changes in the way your teeth feel or in the way they meet when your mouth is closed

Many symptoms of oral cancer are difficult to detect without a professional dental exam and oral cancer screening, which is why having routine screenings is essential to protecting and maintaining oral health.

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