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The Importance of Routine Oral Cancer Screening

At Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, LLC, we are concerned about your overall wellness, in addition to your healthy teeth. For this reason, Dr. John Rink will perform an oral cancer screening during every routine exam at his Charleston, SC, practice. During your appointment, he will examine your gums and soft tissues, looking for any lesions or unusual patches that may indicate precancerous or cancerous conditions. Early detection is essential to beating this disease, so it is vital that you schedule regular visits.

Oral cancer screening consists of a visual and tactile exam of your oral cavity, including your lips, cheek lining, gums, tongue, and the floor and roof of your mouth.

What Is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer can affect any of the soft tissues in your mouth, including your lips, tongue, soft palate, and gums. Like other forms of cancer, this condition occurs when cells begin to multiply too rapidly, leading to irregular growths. The signs of oral cancer can include:

  • Red or white patches inside your mouth
  • Sores that will not heal
  • Lumps inside your mouth or a thickening of the soft tissues
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your dentures fit
  • Pain when chewing or swallowing
  • Chronic sore throat

The disease can affect anyone. However, you face a much higher risk for oral cancer if you are a current or past smoker. You are also more likely to develop the condition if you have a family history of cancer, you drink large amounts of alcohol, or you have been exposed to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

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What Happens during an Oral Cancer Screening?

During your oral cancer screening, Dr. Rink will carefully examine the inside of your mouth, looking for any symptoms. He will also conduct a tactile exam to check for thickening or hardening of the tissues. He works very thoroughly and will even check the top, bottom, and sides of your tongue. If he sees any cause for concern, he will usually send you to a specialist for a biopsy.

This practitioner will take a small tissue sample and test it for the presence of cancer. Not all oral sores are cancerous, and many of them will turn out to be harmless. However, if you are diagnosed with cancer, it is important to visit an oncologist or another specialist right away. Dr. Rink will continue to provide appropriate treatment to maintain teeth and gums during this time.

John F. Rink DDS, AAACD

The Importance of Timely Diagnosis

Oral cancer is a serious disease. Left untreated, it can quickly move to the nearby lymph nodes. From there, it can spread throughout your body. When this occurs, the disease is often fatal. Fortunately, however, early detection is key to beating oral cancer. When patients receive a timely diagnosis and appropriate care, they typically have very good prospects. Therefore, Dr. Rink’s biannual screenings could help save your life.

Contact Us for Additional Information

Almost 42,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with oral and throat cancers each year. If you are experiencing the potential symptoms of oral cancer, or if it is simply time for a routine checkup, contact our office today to book your screening.

Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19 View Update


To Our Wonderful Family of Patients:

Last night, my wife Connie and I enjoyed the most delicious take-out dinner from FIG restaurant. As always, the food was excellent; however, it was most satisfying to see the local restaurant, along with others, begin its comeback. Our resilient city feels like it is coming back to life—parks are opening and folks and families are enjoying the wonderful spring Charleston air. The Rink dental team is, too, readying itself for the next chapter of practicing dentistry as the community begins reopening its doors.

We are concentrating on continuing to advance our rock-solid foundation of state-of-the-art infection control. We were blessed to keep our dedicated and passionate team employed during the crisis, and have devoted the entire month of April to research, systematically developing, purchasing and installing the best additional infection control protocols and equipment available. We are ready. This month we will begin the process of a “soft opening” of our practice. What this means for our patients is a resumption of the same excellent restorative, esthetic, and preventive care in the safest and most secure environment available anywhere.

Additional safety steps will include asking our patients to wait for their appointments in their cars rather than in the reception area. We will ask that you take a moment to fill out a short questionnaire upon your arrival regarding your health and recent travels. We will take everyone’s temperature (including the team) with a forehead scanner as you enter the practice. We will clean and disinfect all touchpoints in the office in between each patient. We have procured the highest quality KN95 masks and face shields for the staff and have carefully researched and purchased the most advanced aerosol containment and purification systems available for the safety of all our patients. These are a few examples of how we have added additional layers of protection for your and our staff’s benefit.

Finally, I wholly understand that each one of you is an individual with specific desires, needs, and comfort levels. I want you to know that we are here to actively listen to you and to create the best environment for your emotional health. Some will be ready sooner than others to receive care again at our office. Let’s keep the lines of communication open and please know that our relationship with you and your family is our highest priority.

We look forward to reuniting with everyone but until that time it is our wish that you enjoy good health, good spirits, and peace.

To your optimal dental health,

- John F. Rink, DDS, AAACD and team

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