Oral Cancer Screening at our Dental Office Saves Lives

Oral cancer poses a significant challenge to America’s healthcare system. According to the America Cancer Society, about 54,540 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in 2023, and over 11,580 patients won’t live to see 2024! While mouth cancer is scary, the good news is that its survival rate significantly increases with early detection. Like any other cancer, oral cancer is easily treatable before it spreads to other body parts. 

Since oral cancer occurs inside your mouth, your family dentist in Smyrna, Georgia, will likely be the first to detect oral cancer. Lifestyle Dentistry offers oral cancer screening during routine checkups to look out for lumps, lesions, and other abnormal signs of mouth cancer. 

Oral cancer symptoms 

Oral cancer occurs mainly in your tongue, behind the throat, gums, palate, and other mouth parts. While oral cancer is asymptomatic during early stages, there’re tell-tale signs you can watch out for mouth cancer. These include:

Although oral cancer can affect anyone, certain risk factors increase the prevalence of mouth cancer. Alcoholism, smoking, excessive sun exposure, and cancer history can increase the chances of mouth cancer. But whether you’re at risk of mouth cancer or not, you must consider regular oral cancer tests for early diagnosis and treatment. 

What to expect during oral cancer screening 

An oral cancer exam is quick and painless, so you’ve nothing to fear when you visit Dr. Aja Nichols. During your test, we use a light, mirror, and tongue depressor to examine your mouth and throat for lumps, ulcerations, patches, and other abnormalities. Your dentist also palpates your neck, jaw, and under the chin to detect unusual lumps or firm nodules.  

We may conduct further tests if we detect abnormalities. We can rinse your mouth with a special blue dye. Abnormal cells absorb the dye, appearing blue, while healthy cells remain white. We can also use an oral cancer screening light. Normal cells remain dark when illuminated, while unhealthy ones appear white. 

When we spot abnormalities, we will schedule follow-up tests to establish whether the problem still exists or observe any growth or changes. We will likely refer you to a cancer specialist for a biopsy and other diagnostic tests, depending on the results. 

Oral cancer tests at a Smyrna, Georgia, family dentist saves lives 

Lifestyle Dentistry is here to deliver healthy, cancer-free smiles. We offer life-saving oral cancer screenings to detect mouth cancer early when it’s easily treatable. To schedule a mouth cancer exam in Smyrna, GA, please call (678) 884-4494 to talk to Dr. Aja Nichols and her team.

Aja Gilmore-Nichols, DDS

Dr. Aja Nichols

Aja Gilmore-Nichols, DDS, attended dental school in Indiana and served in the US Navy for five years before settling in Smyrna, GA. After receiving her Georgia licensure, she worked for ‘corporate dentistry’ and a mobile dental company caring for underserved elementary and middle school children before opening Lifestyle Dentistry in 2016.

Dr. Nichols focuses on the ABCs of dentistry: Airway, Breath, and Cosmetics. With a mission to “do the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons,” she likes to educate her patients so they can make informed decisions. She aims to provide relationship-focused dentistry that helps her patients achieve their dental goals.