Oral Cancer Screening

Every time we provide care, we’re observing many different aspects of your child’s overall health. Most people are surprised at the large amount of surface area that lines the mouth. While this lining repairs itself quickly, it is susceptible to changes that may require monitoring or further evaluation.

Oral cancer can afflict anyone and while it’s very rare for a child to have oral cancer, it is important to check during routine exams. If your child is a teen and uses tobacco, it is very important to have regular oral cancer screenings. Tobacco users put themselves at significantly higher risk than non-users. Chewing tobacco contains up to 3000 different chemicals, including the same compounds used in pesticides and embalming fluid.  Cellular changes below the surface aren’t always detectable until they’ve advanced to a critical stage.

Early detection and treatment of oral cancer significantly increases the chance of a positive outcome. If we suspect any unusual changes in your child or teen’s mouth tissue, we may suggest a biopsy and microscopic analysis by a qualified lab. 

Many other non-cancerous changes can occur in your child’s mouth’s tissue, from oral warts to autoimmune lesions.  Dr. Chang and Dr. Phan draw on their background in oral pathology to determine if any abnormalities should be removed or simply monitored.

We understand tobacco holds powerful addictive powers over many health-conscious people, especially teenagers. If your teen is determined to quit, we want to be a supportive partner in their efforts. Talk to your child’s hygienist or Dr. Chang and Dr. Phan about strategies and resources for helping them kick the habit.