Like other cancers, oral cancer can be reversed or treated if diagnosed timely. For this reason, it’s recommended that you have at least one oral cancer screening per year.Oral cancer screenings can be done during your regular dental check-up and cleaning.
On a typical oral cancer screening procedure, the dentist will check for early signs of cancer. Keep in mind that some early symptoms of oral cancer can look quite normal and harmless. For instance, oral cancer can begin with a simple pimple, which to many people, isn’t a reason to worry at all.
Your dentist will know what to look for when screening you for oral cancer. Some of the symptoms of oral cancer that dentists watch out for include:
If you have any symptoms, contact your dentist immediately or visit a dental office near you as soon as possible. You shouldn’t wait until your next appointment. If diagnosed early, oral cancer is relatively easy and affordable to treat.
Also, it’s essential to have a regular oral cancer screening if you’re at a higher risk of getting it. Factors that increase your risk include:
Typically, the primary purpose of an oral cancer screening is to look for spots, lumps, and anything unusual or abnormal in your mouth. The exam is relatively straightforward and only takes a few minutes. Your dentist is likely to have a thorough look at your mouth, including the:
If you have any removable restorations or appliances, you’ll have to take them off and out before the screening. Please note that your dentist performs both visual and physical exams. Besides observing, they will touch your mouth, face, neck, and other parts to feel possible masses or abnormal nodules.
Your oral cancer exam may also require the use of specialized dental tools and tests. These include:
If your dentist notices any signs of cancer or abnormalities, they are likely to schedule you for additional tests. For instance, they can suggest having a biopsy, where a small piece of the affected tissues is removed and sent to a lab for cancer cell testing. If the dentist feels you need further assistance, they will refer you to an oral cancer specialist.
Please note that even if your dentist finds something, it isn’t always cancer. And if it is, at least it is detected in time, and you’ll have numerous treatment options to consider.
While it may look scary and intimidating, oral cancer screening is beneficial in numerous ways, including:
Do you need an oral cancer screening? Contact Marshfield Dental Group today to book your appointment.