ORANGE, Calif., March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Oral cancer, like many other forms of the disease, offers a much higher cure rate when it's detected early. During April, Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the health professionals at Western Dental Services, Inc., join the effort to improve recognition of the disease.
"Comprehensive dental examinations that include a screening for oral cancer will save lives," says Dr. Louis Amendola, D.D.S., Chief Dental Director at the California-based dental HMO.
Screenings for oral cancer are a routine part of dental exams at the company, which has 250 company-managed offices in California, Arizona and Nevada.
The exam takes less than five minutes and involves a careful visual inspection of your lips, cheeks, gums, tongue and throat. The dentist will check for swelling or any changes in the color or texture of mouth tissues, says Dr. Amendola. The dentist also will feel the floor of the mouth, the tongue and areas beneath the jaw bone to check for growths or other abnormalities, he says.
"Many kinds of mouth ulcers, minor injuries or sores can resemble an early state of cancer," says Dr. Amendola. "But if what you think is a cold sore or an injury from biting your cheek doesn't heal in two weeks, have it examined by a dentist who can determine the next steps," he says. "Typically, we'll refer any potentially suspicious case to a specialist who may order a biopsy."
"Annual oral cancer screenings are one of the best methods we have to help control the rate of the disease," says Samuel H. Gruenbaum, Western Dental President and Chief Executive Officer. "It's a fast and painless exam that aims to discover any health issues while they're minor and easily treatable," he says.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, oral cancers that are detected in their early stages offer a survival rate of 80 to 90 percent.
For more information or to find a nearby dentist, visit www.westerndental.com
Western Dental Services, Inc., is the largest staff-model dental HMO and clinical provider of dental services in California. With more than 4,400 employees and over 250 company-managed dental offices throughout California, Arizona and Nevada, Western Dental is the leader in family and specialty dental care operations at convenient neighborhood locations. The company's strict quality oversight, affordably priced treatments, group and individual dental benefit plans, as well as evening and weekend office hours, help keep the smiles of nearly three-quarters of a million patients healthy and bright every year.
SOURCE Western Dental Services, Inc.