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Oral Cancer Screenings Performed At Our Office


Close to 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the sixth most common cancer this year. Oral or  pharyngeal cancer, causing over 8,000 deaths, killing somewhere around 1 person per hour, per day. Of those 40,000 freshly diagnosed cases, less than half are cured.  The death rate for oral cancer is greater than that of other cancers we hear about frequently, because it is customarily diagnosed in later stages. These figures have not greatly diminished in decades.

Oral cancer may be genetically inherited. However, if you are a smoker, spit tobacco user, too much exposure to sunlight and exorbitant alcohol consumer, you may increase the chance of  being diagnosed with this type of cancer. Other factors such as lip or cheek biting habit and ill-fitting dentures also amplify the risk of developing oral cancer. The most common oral cancer sites are the tongue, floor of the mouth and soft palate. Oral cancer may also be detected on the lips, cheeks or gums.

You are the most significant component in an early diagnosis. An annual screening for oral cancer is crucial. You should always contact your doctor or dentist immediately, if you notice something out of the ordinary, developing around your mouth, neck or head. Our office offers a free oral cancer examination when you come to visit us for a routine dental  check-up.

We look for certain warning signs and conduct a thorough palpating (feeling) for lumos or irregular tissue changes in your mouth, head and neck. With your consent, we will biopsy any suspected areas, update and advise you on the results and proper treatment required to treat the affected area.

A regular 6-month dental check-up is crucial to your well-being. Nevertheless,  it is always keen to perform self-examination to look for early warning signs between your annual screenings.  Anything out of the ordinary, such as a lump that increases in size, a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks and changes in the appearance of soft tissue, should never be ignored.

Other early warning signs are persistent bleeding from the throat or mouth, difficulty swallowing, constant hoarseness and numbness anywhere in the mouth. To perform your own oral cancer examination, vigilantly start in one area of your mouth and consistently follow a pattern of observation and palpation.

Helpful self-examination tips:   1. Face and neck: With the use of  a mirror and your nose as the dividing line, look for lumps or swellings that appear on only one side. See if there are any size or color changes in moles or other growths. With your fingers, press the sides and front of your neck, feeling for lumps or tenderness.

2. Lips: Pull your lip down and up to observe for any soreness or color changes. Run your lip between your thumb and forefinger, feeling for lumps or changes in texture.   3. Cheeks, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth, tongue, and gums: Look for red, white or dark patches or open sores.

Feel for lumps and bumps.   Oral cancer is manageable if detected in the early stages. With early cognizance and immediate treatment, survival rates increase significantly. If you detect the early warning signs discussed above, it is crucial that you call or see us immediately.


Read what people are saying about us.

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If you want to know what I think of Dr. Afzali and her staff all you really need to know is that I live in Portland and I fly to San Diego to see Dr. Afzali for all my dental work. That might seem a bit extreme, and perhaps it is, but hear me out before you decide. A couple of years ago when I was living in the Bay Area I had to have one of my front teeth removed and dental implant inserted in its place by a dentist in the Bay Area. The implant looked a little shorter and darker than my other teeth, and even made my gum above it look a bit darker than the adjacent gum. In short, it didn't look natural. So I wasn't completely satisfied with how my smile looked, but I thought that was the best that could be done. It wasn't.

Last summer while I was in San Diego visiting my parents I went to Dr. Afzali for a routine cleaning. She examined my mouth and immediately asked me whether I was happy with the way my implant looked. When I said I wasn't, she explained that she could make it look better and possibly even indistinguishable from my other teeth. She was right. My implant looks just like my other teeth, and my gum is pink again. In fact, my new implant looks so natural that I sometimes forget it's an implant. I couldn't be happier. One final point. Dr. Afazli's entire staff is great. When I walk in they all make me feel like I'm the most important patient they have. And Julie is particularly great. Because I live in Portland my visits to Dr. Afzali's office had to me perfectly timed with receipt of the various parts necessary for my procedures. Julie made sure that everything arrived when necessary, without fail, so that no flights or appointments had to be rescheduled.

Riley P.

Recently, while on a trip from Canada to visit friends in San Diego, I broke a tooth. I phoned RB Dentistry and was given an appointment without delay. Dr. Mary Afzali was reassuring and professional and did an excellent job fixing the broken tooth. Her dental assistant, Marinette, was kind and gentle and made me feel comfortable throughout the procedure. Julie at Reception was welcoming, warm and made me laugh with her wonderful sense of humour and handled the insurance processing with no complications. Thank you so much Dr. Afzali, Mari and Julie for one of the most pleasant dental appointments I've had in a long time! Hope to see you in Vancouver, B.C. sometime!

Pam C.

I know I am in good hands with Dr. Afzali at RB Family Dentistry. The cavity fillings and tooth root fillings I got there were done so well that when I went to the Southwest College Dental Hygenist school to help out a friend, they could barely even detect the fillings! The teachers there were very impressed. At RB Family Dentistry, the staff and hygenists are friendly, organized and very knowledgable, and the Dr. always gives me as much time as I need and answers all of my questions. The office is beautiful and state-of-the-art. They never try to sell me on additional products or services that I don't need.

Scripps Ranch M

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RB Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
16776 Bernardo Center Dr. #105 San Diego, CA 92128
Phone: (858) 485-0044 URL of Map