Oral Cancer Exam

According to research conducted by the American Cancer society, more than 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed each year.  More than 7,000 of these cases result in the death of the patient.  The good news is that oral cancer can easily be diagnosed with an annual oral cancer exam, and effectively treated when caught in its earliest stages.

Oral cancer is a pathologic process which begins with an asymptomatic stage during which the usual cancer signs may not be readily noticeable.  This makes the oral cancer examinations performed by the dentist critically important.  Oral cancers can be of varied histologic types such as teratoma, adenocarcinoma and melanoma.  The most common type of oral cancer is the malignant squamous cell carcinoma.  This oral cancer type usually originates in lip and mouth tissues.

There are many different places in the oral cavity and maxillofacial region in which oral cancers commonly occur, including:

  • Lips
  • Mouth
  • Tongue
  • Salivary Glands
  • Oropharyngeal Region (throat)
  • Gums
  • Face

Reasons for oral cancer examinations

It is important to note that around 75 percent of oral cancers are linked with modifiable behaviors such as smoking, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.  Your dentist can provide literature and education on making lifestyle changes and smoking cessation.

When oral cancer is diagnosed in its earliest stages, treatment is generally very effective.  Any noticeable abnormalities in the tongue, gums, mouth or surrounding area should be evaluated by a health professional as quickly as possible.  During the oral cancer exam, the dentist and dental hygienist will be scrutinizing the maxillofacial and oral regions carefully for signs of pathologic changes.

The following signs will be investigated during a routine oral cancer exam:

  • Red patches and sores – Red patches on the floor of the mouth, the front and sides of the tongue, white or pink patches which fail to heal and slow healing sores that bleed easily can be indicative of pathologic (cancerous) changes.

  • Leukoplakia – This is a hardened white or gray, slightly raised lesion that can appear anywhere inside the mouth. Leukoplakia can be cancerous, or may become cancerous if treatment is not sought.

  • Lumps – Soreness, lumps or the general thickening of tissue anywhere in the throat or mouth can signal pathological problems.

Oral cancer exams, diagnosis and treatment

The oral cancer examination is a completely painless process.  During the visual part of the examination, the dentist will look for abnormality and feel the face, glands and neck for unusual bumps.  Lasers which can highlight pathologic changes are also a wonderful tool for oral cancer checks.  The laser can “look” below the surface for abnormal signs and lesions which would be invisible to the naked eye.

If abnormalities, lesions, leukoplakia or lumps are apparent, the dentist will implement a diagnostic impression and treatment plan.  In the event that the initial treatment plan is ineffective, a biopsy of the area will be performed.  The biopsy includes a clinical evaluation which will identify the precise stage and grade of the oral lesion.

Oral cancer is deemed to be present when the basement membrane of the epithelium has been broken.  Malignant types of cancer can readily spread to other places in the oral and maxillofacial regions, posing additional secondary threats.  Treatment methods vary according to the precise diagnosis, but may include excision, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

During bi-annual check-ups, the dentist and hygienist will thoroughly look for changes and lesions in the mouth, but a dedicated comprehensive oral cancer screening should be performed at least once each year.

If you have any questions or concerns about oral cancer, please ask your dentist or dental hygienist.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

7/9/2019--Over the past several years I had a number of dental problems which were addressed by several Doctors in the Dr. Ted Filandrianos and Associates Service. These included regrouping of some teeth (Dr. Steve Bader), installation of implants (Dr. John Govostes) and restoration (Dr. Ted Filandrianos). In all cases I found the service and the quality of the work to be of the highest quality. The regrouping of the teeth and the installation of implants were very successful. Dr. Ted Filandrianos in particular, with whom I had interacted for a longer period of time, in addition to his outstanding technical skills and the use of state of the art digital imaging tools, he worked patiently over a number of months to address difficult anatomical problems towards an excellent outcome. Also, the Dental Assistants, that I interacted with during my treatment, were very skillful and highly professional. Similarly, I found Zuzana, the dental hygienist, to be highly professional and skillful. She makes your periodic visits to be something you look forward to it rather than to dread it. It will not be an exaggeration if I say that Zuzana is the best hygienist I have had during my entire life. Finally, Emily and Ali, who run the front office, are highly professional. They were always strive to accommodate the patient's needs and time requirements. Particularly, if you are facing a dental emergency they will always figure out ways to accommodate you. In conclusion , during my long life with a number of difficult dental problems I sought treatment in a number of dental services in the Boston area. I found the dental care that I received by the Dr. Filandrianos and Associates Service to be by far the best.

Theodore Moustakas

06/19/19--A recommendation for a dentist: His skill, his up to date equipment (computer driven replacements of tooth decay) and the efficiency of his office.
Dr. Filandrianos is the most efficient, and thoughtful and - yes - pain free doctor in his field that I have ever encountered. I have had dental work done in Ohio, Washington , New York, Baltimore, Guatemala city and Panama city....and the care and treatment I have had from"Dr. Ted", as he is known, surpasses them all. He is a very kind person. His staff is always excellent, considerate and efficient. His notifications of appointments and willingness to make changes in scheduling , when necessary, have made him and his office people and dental assistants the most appreciated in their field, I cannot give a higher recommendation . I am grateful to have found this office whenI first came to live in Boston.

Gay P. Lord

06/18/2015--Carolyn Z.

I wish there were a Yelp "location" category called "The Universe"...because Dr. Ted Filandrianos and the outstanding dental team in his Newton Centre office are the absolute BEST in the Universe.

I should know. I've had it all there...cleanings, fillings, root canals, extractions, bone grafts, implants, crowns...and every single treatment was performed impeccably...and as an added treat, with chair-side manners that make you feel relaxed, anxiety-free and...dare I write this about a dental experience?...well-loved! Dr. Ted and his colleagues will do everything they possibly can to save a tooth. And when they can't, these brilliant, topnotch specialists will spring into action with their specialties...and save the day!

Dr. Ted has saved or restored so many of my teeth. He is the perfect blend of scientist and artist and his work is second to one. Add to that the warmest and most empathetic treatment I've ever received from a dentist (I used to dread the dentist!) and you have, as I said, the best dentist in the Universe. I also want to say that if you ever, ever need a dental implant, and I needed two...and a bone graft...right after an extraction of an infected tooth...and you are nervous about it...periodontist Dr. Jean-Marie Biebuyck aka "Dr. B" will remove that anxiety when he puts his talents to work. I could not believe it. He calmed me, he assured me that all was going well, he made me laugh a few times and, most importantly, he was visibly proud of how well each procedure turned out and put me at ease each step of the way.

And how about those dreaded root canal treatments? Not here. Just this past weekend, I was in horrific pain from an infected lateral incisor (top). Dr. Ted put me in touch with my now-hero Dr. Barry Goldberg, the endontist in his office - and Dr. Goldberg called me and put me on an antibiotic immediately (on a Sunday!) so that I'd be prepared for the next day's root canal appointment. His chair-side manner is exceptional as well...and he put me at ease from "hello". I love how he explains what's going on with the tooth while we look together at the x-rays - and the steps he is going to take. Even the way he administers Novocaine is a pleasant experience if you can believe that. I just went back yesterday so Dr. Goldberg could fill the canals and put a temporary filling - and everything went perfectly. No more pain - and he saved my porcelain crown...he was so careful when working on it! Next step - permanent filling with Dr. Ted.

I could go on and on (which I already have!) but I also need to mention that Zuzana is an outstanding dental hygienist who knows I can act like a 3-year old baby when it comes to the probing during a cleaning - and she makes it as painless as possible with her talent and skill.

And the dental assistants (I apologize for not remembering all the names from the past several years) are wonderful...topnotch...and a huge component of the overall positive experience I've had in Dr. Ted's office...so I want to thank Marina and Wendy for being the best and taking good care of me.

Now...last but in no way least...I need to give a shout out to the very professional and vibrant Emily and Ali who are at the front desks - and who help ensure that Dr. Ted's practice runs smoothly. Whether it's a phone or in-person conversation, you will feel like the only patient in the practice...because of how Emily and Ali greet you, treat you, listen to you and reassure you that you are in the best dental office...in the Universe! Dr. Ted struck gold when he found them!

But don't take my word for any of the above. Experience it yourself - and you'll see what I mean!

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Theodore Filandrianos, DMD | 1400 Centre Street, Suite 101, Newton Centre, MA 02459

Phone: (617) 440-9198