ATTENTION PATIENTS: We at East Tennessee Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery consider our patients’ health and safety to be our number one priority. We will continue to treat patients using standard universal precautions for barrier protection as well as the CDC guidelines for office cleanliness. Our waiting room and patient restrooms are being cleaned and sanitized daily as well as all doorknobs and handles being sanitized hourly. All magazines have been discarded from our waiting rooms.

We do not take the recent findings regarding COVID-19 lightly and wanted to reassure you of our commitment to your overall safety and well-being while under our care. Patients are welcome to wait in their cars upon arrival, we just ask that you please call us when you have arrived  so that we may bring paperwork out for you to complete. We will call you when we are ready for you.

If you or anyone in your household has experienced recent cough, fever, or other symptom of illness we ask that you reschedule your appointment for a future date.

We do plan to stay open and to observe our normal business hours at this time. We are diligently monitoring this situation and current guidelines for care. We will notify you if any changes will be necessary. We look forward to seeing you for your appointment.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend that you take an oral cancer screening whenever you have your dental check-up.

One is at a higher risk for oral cancer if they are over forty, an alcohol or tobacco user or have a history of head or neck cancer. Frequent exposure to the sun is also a risk for lip cancer. Oral cancer is not limited to these groups. About 25 percent of people diagnosed do not drink or smoke. Unfortunately, many cases go undetected until the late stages of development.

How is oral cancer detected?

An oral cancer screening involves a visual assessment of your lips, tongue, and the inside of your mouth, including a check for red or white patches or unusual sores. The doctor may press the inside of your mouth to detect the presence of lumps and swellings, and your tongue may be gently pulled aside for an even better view. A special light or dye may be used to probe any suspect areas. If anything appears unusual, a biopsy can be done. A biopsy involves removal of a small piece of tissue for laboratory examination.

Early Detection is Key
Oral & Maxillofacial surgeons recommend that everyone do an oral cancer screening self-exam once per month. You are at a high risk for oral cancer if you smoke, drink, or use smokeless tobacco. The mouth is a region where changes are easily seen; oral cancer can be detected in early stages.

The things to look for on oral cancer exams:

  • Red patches are bad
  • White patches
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • Chronic sore throat
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening of tissue

If you have any of these signs, see your oral & maxillofacial surgeon.

If the surgeon agrees that something looks suspicious, a biopsy may be recommended. This procedure involves removal of a piece of suspicious tissue. The biopsy is then sent to the pathology laboratory for accurate diagnosis.

Other contributing factors for oral cancer other than tobacco products and alcohol include poor oral hygiene, irritation by ill-fitting dentures and rough surfaces on teeth, poor nutrition and combinations of these factors.