Monthly Archives: January 2019

The importance of professional oral cancer screening

What to Expect from an Oral Cancer Screening

An oral cancer screening, performed by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, can detect cancerous and precancerous tissues early on, when treatment is typically easier.

Everyone can benefit from a professional screening, but regular checks are particularly essential for heavy drinkers, tobacco users and people who spend a great deal of time out in the sun. Those factors, along with a previous oral cancer diagnosis, increase the risk of developing the disease.

If you’ve never had a professional screening for oral cancer, you may be wondering what the process entails.

The importance of professional oral cancer screening

Patient Questions

When you visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a professional oral cancer screening, the first step is usually a chat. You can expect a number of questions, including:

  • Are you experiencing any oral health problems?
  • Have you seen or felt a lesion, lump or abnormality inside your mouth?
  • Have you noticed a change in swallowing?
  • Do you have persistent earaches or chronic hoarseness?

The information you provide can help guide the examination and the steps taken afterward.

General Examination

Next, your oral surgeon will conduct a visual exam. This is a thorough inspection of every part of your mouth to identify warning signs of oral cancer, including:

  • Red, white or mottled patches
  • Rough or thickened mouth tissues
  • Lumps, lesions and sores

A physical exam accompanies or follows the visual inspection. This involves feeling the inside of your mouth to check for bumps and abnormalities. Your surgeon will also feel for unusual masses or nodules around your jaw and neck, as those can be signs of potential problems.

Additional Cancer Screening Tests

If your oral and maxillofacial surgeon spots anything unusual, you may be asked to come back for a second screening a few weeks later. Or you might need one or more additional oral cancer screening tests, such as:

  • Toluidine blue stain – With this procedure, a coat of blue dye is applied to the inside of your mouth. If any areas appear darker, the tissues are likely cancerous or precancerous.
  • Fluorescence staining – For this cancer screening test, you’ll use a fluorescent mouth rinse. Then, using a special light, your surgeon will look for abnormalities.
  • Exfoliative cytology – Using a brush or small wooden swab, your surgeon will gently scrape cells from inside your mouth. The cells are then viewed with a microscope.
  • Brush biopsy – This cancer screening procedure involves removing a sample of cells that encompasses every layer of a lesion. Laboratory testing determines whether cancerous tissues are present.

    If you live in the greater east central Indiana area, schedule a professional oral cancer screening with Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

    Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, have extensive expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of a vast range of oral health conditions. We provide compassionate care and work to ensure that every patient has a positive experience.

    For more information on Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, or to schedule your professional oral cancer screening, contact us today.

    Facial surgeon advice to minimize scarring

    Facial Surgeon Advice to Minimize Scarring

    Choosing a well-qualified, highly experienced facial surgeon is the best way to ensure minimal scarring from any procedure. When a surgeon has comprehensive training and skill in advanced surgical techniques, noticeable scars are much less likely.

    At the same time, you can take steps during the recovery process to minimize scarring. Ask your facial surgeon for advice or contact the team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to learn more.

    Facial surgeon advice to minimize scarring

    Take Care of Your Surgical Incisions

    If you want to keep post-surgical scarring at a minimum, you need to nurse your wounds. Your facial surgeon will tell you exactly how to handle incision care, but generally speaking, most professionals recommend that you:

    • Keep the incisions moist in the first days and apply an ointment to the area to speed healing.
    • Gently clean the incisions, but refrain from picking or scratching.
    • Lightly massage the wounds after the sutures are removed to boost blood flow and help prevent the formation of scar tissue.

    Take Care of Yourself after Facial Surgery

    As any surgeon will tell you, caring for yourself properly after surgery is crucial. If you don’t, you could prolong the recovery period – which might result in more noticeable scars. To minimize scarring, be sure to:

    • Rest at home, limiting your physical activity for however long your surgeon recommends.
    • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, at least until your incisions have fully healed.
    • Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet that includes ample protein.
    • Limit your exposure to sunlight, and put on a hat and plenty of sunscreen before going outside

    Watch Out for the Warning Signs of Infection

    As you’re healing, be on the lookout for symptoms of infection. If your incisions get infected, your chances of being able to successfully minimize scarring will be lower.

    If you notice any redness or swelling at or near the wounds, contact your surgeon immediately. Do the same if you spot any discharge or if you develop a fever. With quick action, the infection poses less of a risk of leading to larger, more noticeable scars.

    Consider Surgeon-Approved Scar Treatments

    For some patients, additional scar treatments — including ointments, creams and silicone wound dressings — can be beneficial.

    Before shopping for a solution to minimize scarring, however, check with your facial surgeon. Many products simply aren’t worthwhile, and others could pose problems to some patients.

    At Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we employ state-of-the-art technologies and advanced techniques to minimize scarring after surgical procedures. Rest assured, you’re in good hands with our facial surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman. With their extensive expertise, noticeable scars are quite unlikely.

    The Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery team understands your concerns about your post-surgical appearance, and we’re happy to offer advice on how to minimize scarring. To discuss the matter with our highly experienced facial surgeons, contact our office today.