Upton and Baker DDS - Wake Forest

Oral Cancer Screening in Wake Forest

Early cancer detection for the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. Learn the signs and understand your risks.
Call 919-263-2143

The signs and symptoms of oral cancer

Oral cancer is characterized from abnormal cell growth in the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. With early detection, oral cancers have a high rate of successful treatment. The people at the greatest risk for oral cancers are those over the age of 45 but regardless of your age, you should opt for oral cancer screening if you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms:

  • Discolored patches in your mouth or on your lips including white or dark red in color.
  • Unfamiliar lumps or unusual changes in texture.
  • Canker sores that won’t heal, numb patches or persistent bleeding.
  • Unusual feeling tongue, change in sense of taste and difficulty swallowing.

The risk factors for oral cancer

There are several behaviours and conditions that are associated with a higher risk of oral cancer. These include:

  • Smoking or consuming tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco
  • Heavy or moderately heavy consumption of alcohol (especially combined with tobacco)
  • Possibility of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection of the mouth.
  • Excessive exposure to the sun; a lifestyle that includes lots of sun exposure.
  • A poor diet or poor eating habits.
  • Family history of oral cancer.
  • Oral cancer is more common in men than in women.
  • A history of leukoplakia (a thick, whitish-color patch that develops inside the mouth)

Prevention, detection and treatment of oral cancer

Treatment will be planned on a case by case basis and will heavily depend on the severity, type and location of the suspected cancer.

Spotting early signs of cancer

The goal of an oral cancer screening is the early detection of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. During the exam, your dentist will look over the inside of your mouth and under your tongue for red or white patches or suspicious sores. Your dentist will also feel the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or odd textures and may also feel the outside of your throat and neck for lumps.

Diagnosis and treatment

If signs of cancer are detected during your oral screening you may be asked to undergo additional testing such as a biopsy (where a small piece of the suspicious tissue is removed for lab examination) or imaging tests like Xrays, ultrasounds, CT scans or an MRI. To remove confirmed tumours, surgery or chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be necessary.

Prevention of oral cancer

You can take steps now to help prevent oral cancer later. To help reduce your risk of oral cancer see your dentist regularly for routine exams, stop using tobacco products and drink responsibly, be mindful of your exposure to direct sunlight and use U/V protective lip balms, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and veggies and during your routine brushing and flossing rituals, remember to check your mouth for signs or symptoms so that you can report any concerns to your dentist.

Contact us today

to schedule an initial consultation & exam.

Your consultation will include an examination of everything from your teeth, gums and soft tissues to the shape and condition of your bite. Generally, we want to see how your whole mouth looks and functions. Before we plan your treatment we want to know everything about the health and aesthetic of your smile, and, most importantly, what you want to achieve so we can help you get there.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any of the risk factors for oral cancer it’s a good idea to ask for an oral cancer screening at your regular dental exam. If you have discovered an unusually colored or textured patch in your mouth or a lump or suspicious sore you’re encouraged to schedule an appointment to get it checked out.
Your dentist will examine your lips and the inside of your mouth including your cheeks, gums and all sides of your tongue. They will also carefully feel around for any lumps or unusual textures. The dentist may also feel your face, jaw, throat and neck for unusual lumps or tenderness.
Wash your hands with warm soapy water. In front of your bathroom mirror, you’ll want to examine the roof of your mouth, your lips, tongue and gums. Pull your top lip up and bottom lip down to see behind them. You may use a piece of gauze or a cotton pad to help you grip your tongue to check the sides and underside. Do your best to look at your gums, and use your fingers to feel the insides of your mouth. You’re looking and feeling for color changes, lumps and bumps, unusual textures or tenderness. Let your dentist know if you have any sores that have not healed after two weeks.
Small, usually painless, flat patches that may appear red, white, gray or yellow with red edges. These small patches can affect any area of the mouth including the lips, gums, cheeks, tongue and the roof of the mouth. As a good rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to have anything that looks or feels unusual checked out by your doctor or dentist.

Google Verified Patient Reviews

Keiko Nakamoto
4 months ago
Just had my second visit to Dr. Upton. On my first visit, Dr. and his assistant, Jessica, did a thorough evaluation of my situation. He asked me questions about my dental history and actually listened carefully to my concerns. Then he left to review my x-rays and options for treatment. When he returned, he gave me some options, which I REALLY appreciated. He even took into consideration my dietary habits and the fact I don't like prescription medications. Not even my physicians gave me that kind of concern!! Today I had my tooth pulled out and he took into consideration my financial situation and did it under local anesthesia, where my previous experience was done under general anesthesia. It was less expensive and totally tolerable. I'm glad that he considers the whole patient, the tolerance to pain, the budget and the treatment preferences. I also appreciate that he sat on a stool and spoke to me face to face. His office staff, Jessica, Megan and Priscilla are all equally attentive and considerate. Thank you everyone 💓! Yes, I would recommend their services to anyone in need of dental care.
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Meg Coffey
7 months ago
Professional, courteous and thorough. Dr Baker and staff take time to explain what they’re doing, what options you have and check often in your comfort level during procedure. Very happy to recommend them to anyone in the market for dental services.
More
Frances Given
10 months ago
I've been a patient of this practice for over forty years (even though we moved almost 17 years ago) and their consistent, thorough and friendly care can't be beat! Drs Upton and Baker, as well as, the entire staff have been and are always attentive, caring and never fail to provide the best dental care!
More
J C
1 year ago
I’m thankful that I found this dental practice. From the staff, upfront, to the dental assistant Kelly, and Dr. Baker, they have been absolutely wonderful. After having had previous experiences that were not ideal, I was reluctant to find a new dentist that I could trust. I read all the five star reviews for Upton & Baker and tried it out for myself, very happy that I did as they make you feel right at home. Dr. Baker is absolutely wonderful and fantastic and I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s Very professional and skilled, top to bottom. Cannot recommend him more highly. Dr. Baker is so thorough and informative, and lets you know every step of the way what’s going on so there are no surprises. Very calming, as well. Thank you!!
More
This was by far the best dental visit I have had in years. Priscilla was great assisting me with getting my appointment booked and offering me an earlier appointment when one came available. Bonnie was AMAZING!! She went very in depth in my cleaning and took the time to help me understand what she was doing and the benefits of each step, no dentist has ever taken the time to help me understand more about my gums and teeth like she did...very educational! Doctor Kevin Upton was great too, he is very friendly and personable. Will be booking all of my dentist appointments with them from now on. 10/10
More
Keiko Nakamoto
4 months ago
Just had my second visit to Dr. Upton. On my first visit, Dr. and his assistant, Jessica, did a thorough evaluation of my situation. He asked me questions about my dental history and actually listened carefully to my concerns. Then he left to review my x-rays and options for treatment. When he returned, he gave me some options, which I REALLY appreciated. He even took into consideration my dietary habits and the fact I don't like prescription medications. Not even my physicians gave me that kind of concern!! Today I had my tooth pulled out and he took into consideration my financial situation and did it under local anesthesia, where my previous experience was done under general anesthesia. It was less expensive and totally tolerable. I'm glad that he considers the whole patient, the tolerance to pain, the budget and the treatment preferences. I also appreciate that he sat on a stool and spoke to me face to face. His office staff, Jessica, Megan and Priscilla are all equally attentive and considerate. Thank you everyone 💓! Yes, I would recommend their services to anyone in need of dental care.
More
Meg Coffey
7 months ago
Professional, courteous and thorough. Dr Baker and staff take time to explain what they’re doing, what options you have and check often in your comfort level during procedure. Very happy to recommend them to anyone in the market for dental services.
More
Frances Given
10 months ago
I've been a patient of this practice for over forty years (even though we moved almost 17 years ago) and their consistent, thorough and friendly care can't be beat! Drs Upton and Baker, as well as, the entire staff have been and are always attentive, caring and never fail to provide the best dental care!
More
J C
1 year ago
I’m thankful that I found this dental practice. From the staff, upfront, to the dental assistant Kelly, and Dr. Baker, they have been absolutely wonderful. After having had previous experiences that were not ideal, I was reluctant to find a new dentist that I could trust. I read all the five star reviews for Upton & Baker and tried it out for myself, very happy that I did as they make you feel right at home. Dr. Baker is absolutely wonderful and fantastic and I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s Very professional and skilled, top to bottom. Cannot recommend him more highly. Dr. Baker is so thorough and informative, and lets you know every step of the way what’s going on so there are no surprises. Very calming, as well. Thank you!!
More
This was by far the best dental visit I have had in years. Priscilla was great assisting me with getting my appointment booked and offering me an earlier appointment when one came available. Bonnie was AMAZING!! She went very in depth in my cleaning and took the time to help me understand what she was doing and the benefits of each step, no dentist has ever taken the time to help me understand more about my gums and teeth like she did...very educational! Doctor Kevin Upton was great too, he is very friendly and personable. Will be booking all of my dentist appointments with them from now on. 10/10
More
    Upton and Baker DDS - Wake Forest

    Request an Appointment Today

    Call 919-263-2143