The power of screenings, early detection of oral cancers could save your life

At West Suburban Oral Health Care in Naperville, Illinois, we are often on the front lines of detecting and promptly intervening with all sorts of conditions that affect not only your oral health but also the health of your entire “system” or body. Notably, during routine visits to our practice, Drs Susan Mazzei, and Kelsey Esposito perform screenings to detect precancerous lesions and oral and oropharyngeal cancers. These evaluations complement our examination of your teeth, gums, and other oral structures. We emphasize prompt, proactive care in all that we do. And oral cancer detection is no exception to this philosophy. In fact, in this case, early detection can be a lifesaver.

The “basics”

Oral cancers affect the oral cavity or mouth. So, these cancers can arise in areas including the lips, oral mucosa lining the insides of the mouth, and the front parts of the tongue and palate. Oropharyngeal cancers develop in the oropharynx or throat. These cancers affect the back portion or the base of the tongue and the soft palate, tonsils, and throat walls.

These cancers have a reputation for being quite deadly because, as with other types of cancers, they are often detected late into the disease process after the cancer has metastasized or spread beyond its localized site. With prompt and ongoing evaluation and detection at its localized or even precancerous stage, these cancers actually have a high rate of successfully being treated. For this reason, we emphasize consistent and regular screenings and partner with our patients to minimize or eliminate risk factors.

Our approach

During your appointment, one of our doctors will discuss any changes to your health status and any concerns or symptoms that may have arisen since your last visit. For instance, oral cancers can affect how you swallow and your speech. Persistent sore throats, hoarseness, and problems swallowing should be brought up to your doctor without delay. Drs Mazzei, and Esposito also visually inspect the insides of your mouth and throat and “palpate” or feel for any suspicious swelling or lumps that might warrant a biopsy and further investigation. They are also looking for potential trouble signs such as red or white patches.

Every check-up at our practice involves discussing your hygiene and lifestyle factors that can either help or hinder your oral and systemic health. We take special care to provide guidance on minimizing or addressing risk factors for these cancers. Notables include smoking, vaping, the use of tobacco products, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Time is of the essence when treating oral cavity and throat cancers. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at West Suburban Oral Health Care immediately. Call 630-393-3045 to reach our Naperville practice, which proudly serves the oral health needs of our neighbors from Wheaton, Warrenville, Glen Ellyn, North Aurora, and surrounding communities.

Dr. Susan Mazzei, West Suburban Oral Health Care

Dr. Susan Mazzei is committed to delivering compassionate and effective care to patients of all ages and backgrounds in Naperville, Illinois. She is a highly skilled dentist who earned her Certification in Prosthodontics after graduating from Northwestern University Dental School.

After finishing her studies, she enrolled in the Northwestern University Dental School faculty as a full-time Clinical Assistant Professor. Dr. Mazzei believes that optimal dental health begins with education and preventative care and educates patients at West Suburban Oral Healthcare on how to take more control of their oral health, which promotes optimal systemic health.

Dr. Mazzei is dedicated to upgrading her education and being up to date on the newest breakthroughs in oral health and dentistry, ensuring that her patients receive the finest care possible.

Dr. Kelsey Esposito, West Suburban Oral Health Care

Dr. Kelsey Esposito joined West Suburban Oral Health Care as an Associate General Dentist in 2017 after meeting Dr. Mazzei, with whom she shared a belief in providing comprehensive, personalized dental care.

She holds a BA in Economics and Fine Art from Kalamazoo College and a Premedicine Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from Northwestern University. Before entering dentistry, she worked in healthcare advertising and communications for a large ad company and a small non-profit cancer research organization. She earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine from The University of Illinois, Chicago.

Dr. Esposito is a member of several leading professional associations, like the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry. Paying attention to detail and offering quality care that makes patients satisfied with their oral health and smiles are her goals.