A full mouth evaluation is performed during the patient's initial appointment. This evaluation consists of recording missing teeth, evaluating the: temporomandibular joint, the patient's bite, gums, bone, tissue, bacterial plaque and teeth.
An oral cancer screening: The face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums are evaluated for any signs of oral cancer.
- X-rays: All necessary x-rays required for proper diagnosis are taken.
- A dental CT scan: A CT scan is taken when indicated.
- Digital Photos: Clinical photos are taken as another form of diagnostic data collection.
- Treatment Plan Consultation: The doctors will take all the time needed to discuss treatment recommendations. It is very important to the doctors to fully educate our patients on their condition and all treatment options so that patients are able to make an educated decision. There will be no additional cost if the consultation requires another visit.
Oral Cancer Exam
According to the American Cancer Society, over 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year, with over 7000 of these cases resulting in the death of the patient. Fortunately, oral cancer can be diagnosed with an annual cancer exam provided by Drs. Davis or Livada. If caught early, oral cancer can be effectively treated.
Oral cancer is a pathologic process, which begins by producing no symptoms making it hard to recognize without an exam. There are many types of oral cancer, including teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma. The most common form of oral cancer is malignant squamous cell carcinoma, which typically originates in the lip and mouth tissue. There are many other places in which oral cancers occur, including: the tongue, salivary glands, throat, gums, and face.
What to Expect
The oral cancer examination is completely painless. Drs. Davis or Livada will look for abnormalities and feel the face, glands, and neck for unusual bumps. Lasers may be used to highlight pathologic changes, and can “look” below the surface for spots and lesions invisible to the naked eye. Some of the signs that will be investigated are red patches and sores. Red patches on the floor of the mouth, or the front of the tongue, and bleeding sores which fail to heal easier, can be indicative of cancerous changes. Leukoplakia is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear inside the mouth, and may be cancerous. Signs of these will be examined as well. Finally, soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathologic signs, and will be examined.
If abnormalities, lesions, lumps, or leukoplakia are apparent, Drs. Davis or Livada will implement a treatment plan that is right for you. Treatment options vary according to the precise diagnosis, but may include: excision, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
It is also important to note that over 75% of oral cancers are linked with avoidable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption. Drs. Davis or Livada can provide you with literature and options about quitting dangerous behaviors such as tobacco use.
When patients are seen in our office for prophylaxis (cleaning) or periodontal maintenance, a periodic examination is performed. If a patient also sees a general dentist, then a periodic evaluation is usually done at the time of that prophylactic visit. In this briefer evaluation, the doctor/periodontist reviews the x-rays, the hygienist’s findings and performs his or her own oral exam.