Oral Cancer

Biopsy Provides Early Detection of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can happen within the soft and hard tissue around the oral cavity.  It is benefitial to detect oral cancer in its early stage because early detection allows for early treatment and it can save lives.  Dental professional is one of the front line in mankind’s combat against oral cancer because dental professional works around the oral cavity and can help see if there are any changes to the patient’s oral health.  This does not only include detection of cavity and restoring missing teeth.  But in addition, dental professional can perform intraoral and extraoral examination to detect any abnormality in the soft tissue and the bony ridge through visual, tactile and also clinical xray imaging methods.

Some ulcers in the mouth may heal over time.  However, if there is a lesion that does not heal itself and persist or may even enlarge over time, biopsy can be done to verify the type of lesion.  Usually, this procedure only requires local anesthetics.  The dentist would use a scalpel to incise a tissue sample, and then put it into a jaw containing formalin.  The dentist would send this tissue sample to the pathology lab for evaluation.  A report will show whether the suspect lesion is cancerous or not.  If it is cancerous, a followup referral to specialist is given to patient.

Oral Lesion

Oral Lesion on the Cheek Mucosa.

An early detected cancerous lesion can be treated with excisional biopsy because the affected area is often self-contained and can be readily cut out from the surrounding healthy tissue.

Smoking Can Cause Oral Cancer

Smoking can cause cancer, especially lung and oral cancer.  Carcinogen, such as nicotine, in a ciagarette can accumulate within the cells in the lung and the oral cavity.  The effect can be slow and gradual.  Often, it goes undetected because the changes may not cause any symptoms.

Dentist is one of the first line health professionals who can detect any changes within the oral cavity.  This can be physical visual examination in combination of tactile palpating of the head and neck regions.  Dentist can discover if there is any abnormality in the oral-facial region.  Also dental X-ray radiograph such as panoramic radiograph can show the bone structure and the sinus airways.

If there is any abnormal changes, a further analysis such as brush biopsy and excisional biopsy can be performed.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Dental Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist


Fosamax Can Cause Osteonecrosis to the Jaw Bone

Fosamax is a common drug used to treat osteoporosis and also Paget’s disease. In some rare cases, people may develop dental complications after dental extractions when they are taking fosamax. The jaw bone may never heal and osteonecrosis of the jaw bone may occur. There may or may not be infections. It may be asymptomatic for a couple of weeks until the exposed bone appears in the affected site.

There are other drugs that may cause osteonecrosis. They are bisphosphonate-category of drugs used to commonly treat cancers.

One way to minimize the chance of side effect is to have the physician to prescribe an alternative medication for the targeted medical illness.

So if you are taking fosamax, please be sure to discuss this with the dentist upon dental visit.

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Practicing General Dentist Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona.

Oral Cancer — Diagnosis and Treatment

Oral Cancer is the cancer occurring within the oral cavity and around the mouth.  The oral cancer often occurs on the lips, tongue, cheek, and palate.  Under the microscope, the cancerous tissue has a similar characteristics and they are called the squamous cell carcinoma.  The growth and spread of the cancerous cells can be rapid.  Over 70% of all oral cancer cases can be attributed to the history of smoking.  Other factors can also increase the oral cancer risks:

–  Excessive alcoholic drinking

–  Poor oral hygiene

–  Chronic stimulation from roughen surface of teeth, dental restoration and prosthesis

–  Human Papilloma Virus

Oral Cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma, leukoplakia, tempe dentist, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix, Gilbert, Arizona

Leukoplakia (or white patch) in the mouth needs to be check for possible oral cancer changes.

Oral cancer can start from small ulcer or cyst in the mouth.  Early detection is especially important because the growth of oral cancer can be rapid.  A simple oral cancer biopsy and laboratory analysis can verify if a person has oral cancer.  If the tumor is small, treatment can include excision biopsy.  For more severe cases, treatment would be chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Oral cancer can be a dangerous type of cancer because the growth and spread of oral cancer cells can be rapid.  The cancerous cells can spread through the lymphantic system and the cancer can spread to other region of the body.  In addition, the morbidity of the cancer is high.  In some cases, cancerous tumor removal requires cutting away part of the facial and oral cavity structure such as tongue, jaw bone and cheek tissue.

Dentist is the first medical professional to review your oral health condition.  I routinely perform intraoral and extraoral cancer check for my patients when they come for periodic checkup and cleaning visits.


Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS
Practicing General Dentist Serving Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Mesa, and Gilbert Arizona