Oral Cancer Screening for Optimal Health in Valparaiso

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Why is cancer screening so important?

Oral cancer is commonly discovered after it has metastasized to another location which is commonly the lymph nodes in the head and neck region and the prognosis is significantly worse. Once into the lymph nodes the cancer can spread throughout the lymphatic system in the rest of the body. In the early stages oral cancer is usually painless and may not be noticed by one. Dr. Drone and his team of hygienists will perform an extra-oral and intra-oral cancer screening exam at each oral health care exam which is biannual at the minimum.

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Dr. Drone is a native of Wheatfield, IN and has been practicing dentistry since 2003 and opened his private practice in Valparaiso, IN in 2007. Dr. Drone earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Indiana University School of Dentistry and earned his advanced specialty degrees in Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthodontics from Indiana University School of Dentistry and Medicine.

Call Our Office Today At (219) 462-2564

Oral Cancer Screening Procedure

The oral cancer exam involves no discomfort. During the screening exam Dr. Drone and the hygienist perform and intra-oral and extra-oral cancer exam at every oral health care visit. During your intra-oral exam we will be looking inside your mouth with dental telescopes for lumps, areas of tenderness, and any abnormal colors on your tissue, specifically red patches and sores, grey patches and white patches. During your extra-oral exam we will be feeling down the sides and front areas of your neck and the areas under your cheeks and chin for any tenderness, swollen glands, unusual bumps or lumps and enlarged lymph nodes.

If an irregularity is discovered during the cancer screening exam, Dr. Drone will recommend a consultation with a periodontist, oral surgeon, or ENT for further diagnostic testing or a biopsy. If a biopsy is performed, an oral pathologist will examine the area under many microscopes to determine if it is cancer. If the area is cancerous then a treatment plan will be developed by a team of oncologists.

A great patient resource for an overview of a cancer screening exam is checkyourmouth.org.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

A risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting a medical anomaly like cancer. Oral cancer is the 6th most common cancer in The United States. Some individuals have oral cancer with no known risk factors and some individual have all the risk factors but never get oral cancer. Below are the strongest risk factors that have been associated with oral cancer.

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Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Many of the signs and symptoms below may be caused by other If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms please contact Michael Drone Dentistry & Prosthodontics promptly for an appointment for an oral cancer screening:

  • A sore in the mouth that does not heal within 2 weeks (most common sign)
  • Pain in the mouth that does not go away (another very common symptom)
  • Swelling or lumps inside your mouth or along the neck area
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsils, lips, roof of the mouth, or floor of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or the feeling that something is lodged in the throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing, chewing, speaking, moving your jaw or moving your tongue
  • Severe weight loss
  • Numbness on your mouth, face or neck area
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
  • Loosening of teeth or unexplained pain in the teeth
  • Change in the fit of your dentures which may be attributed to swelling of the jaw from a tumor or weight loss caused by a tumor
  • Lump or mass in the neck area

Oral Cancer Facts

  • Oral cancer is the 6th most common type of cancer in the United States
  • It is estimated 50,000 American will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year
  • Oral cancer will cause about 10,000 deaths this year, killing 1 person every hour
  • Oral and oropharyngeal cancers are twice as common in men than women
  • It is estimated that 57-65% of the newly diagnosed individuals will be alive in 5 years
  • If detected early survival rate can be between 80-90%
  • In the early stages is usually painless until metastasizing to another area
  • Most common type of oral cancer is squamous cell carcinoma
  • Risk factors include tobacco, alcohol, HPV (human papilloma virus) and sun exposure
  • Most common sites for oral cancer are the tongue, tonsils & oropharynx, gums, floor of the mouth, lips and roof of mouth

Services Michael Drone Dentistry & Prosthodontics Offers

Implant Dentistry

Single Tooth Replacement

Multiple Teeth Replacement

Dental Implant Crowns

Dental Implant Bridges

Implant Dentures

Sleep Apnea Therapy

Cosmetic Dentistry

Ceramic Inlays & Onlays

Professional Teeth Whitening

Aesthetic Dental Bonding

Porcelain Veneers

Dental Cleaning Exams

Oral Hygiene and Care

Gum Disease Treatment

Bruxism & TMJ Therapy

Full Mouth Reconstruction

Tooth Extractions

Dental Fillings

Dental Crowns


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Professional Involvement

We work with a dedicated team of professionals to make sure that your experience is the absolute best it can be. From our friendly front office staff, the assistants who work closely with Dr. Drone, our hygiene staff that helps our patients walk away with beautifully clean teeth and easy-to-understand dental knowledge, to the other specialists we are honored to work with; our knowledgeable dental staff will care for you every step of the way.

Exemplary Patient Outcomes

We understand the importance of having a healthy, comfortable bite. We are able to provide each patient with excellent quality restorative dental solutions. An in-office consultation will allow us to diagnose and determine how your unique needs can best be met through our restorative dental options.

Our office is conveniently located in Valparaiso, IN. Many of our patients are from the surrounding Northwest Indiana areas: Valparaiso, Chesterton, Portage, Hobart, Merrillville, Schererville, Kouts, Highland, Munster, La Porte, Michigan City, South Bend, and Crown Point. Patients also travel from Chicago, Ohio and Southwest Michigan.