Dentists are better positioned to detect cancer areas in your mouth early. They can do this during your oral checkup, especially if you are at risk of oral cancer. Oral cancer screenings help catch the early signs before cancer progresses.
This also ensures treatment of cancer, especially if caught early enough. Most dentists will have different methods of detecting early oral cancer signs. If you plan on getting an oral cancer screening, read on to know everything that it entails.
What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening is a test conducted by your dentist to identify any precancerous conditions in your mouth. The screening helps identify mouth cancer early since there's a better chance of cure. Your dentist will conduct the examination during your routine dental visit. Some might require additional tests to help identify the areas with abnormal cells within your mouth.
Who Needs Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening aims to identify mouth cancer and prevent it before it becomes severe. Identifying mouth cancer early helps specialists remove the lesions easily. Therefore, oral screening is ideal for people with a high risk of oral cancer. This includes people with heavy alcohol use, history of significant sun exposure, previous oral cancer diagnosis, tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and human papillomavirus. Most people diagnosed with oral cancer have at least one of these factors. However, a larger number of people are getting diagnosed with oral cancer without showing any risk factors. Therefore, it's advisable to have oral cancer screenings even without the risk factors. It helps maintain your overall health.
How Does a Dentist Perform an Oral Cancer Screening?
The dentist performs the oral cancer screening test by looking in your mouth for mouth sores and red or white patches. Your dentist should have gloved hands since they have to feel your mouth tissues for lumps and any additional abnormalities. The dentist can also examine your neck and throat for lumps. At times, the dentist can conduct special tests in addition to the oral exam. They include using an oral cancer screening light and dye. The light helps identify healthy tissue while the dye makes the abnormal cells appear blue.
How Often Should You Have Oral Cancer Screening?
Early oral cancer detection can help improve your chances of successful treatment. Therefore, your dentist might recommend having frequent oral cancer screenings to examine your entire mouth. If you are over 20 years of age, you should have the screening every three years. However, if you are over 40, you should have annual oral screenings.
During an oral cancer screening, your dentist will be looking out for several symptoms. They include pain when you bite down on your teeth, lumps in your mouth, spots that bleed continuously without healing, and white or red patches in the mouth. It’s, therefore, advisable to have frequent oral cancer screening but this varies depending on your age and habits. After the screening, your dentist sends your samples to a lab to determine whether it's cancer.
Blue Stone Hills Dentistry offers these types of Oral Cancer Screenings to help its patients utilize preventative care and protect them from worse conditions and outcomes. Contact our office today to schedule your Oral Cancer Screening soon. Call (540) 433-3625.