Oral Cancer Screenings
Here at Classic Smiles, we can provide Oral Cancer Screenings. Oral cancer screenings are an examination performed by a dentist to look for signs of cancer in the mouth. Oral cancer screenings are used to identify mouth cancer early, allowing for a greater chance for treatment.
Our dentists will perform an examination of the mouth during a routine visit, but there are additional tests which can identify abnormal cells in your mouth. Not all spots or lumps in the mouth are cancer, and there are many other reasons why you might feel abnormalities within the mouth. Keeping up regular appointments with your dentist is important as they can spot early signs of a problem, allowing you to have a broader range of treatment options.
Why You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are performed to detect mouth cancer or lesions that can lead to mouth cancer. This process may not save lives, but it will identify oral cancer before it becomes serious. People with a high risk of oral cancer will benefit from oral cancer screenings. Factors that increase the risk include heavy alcohol drinking, heavy smoking of any tobacco products, and being exposed to the sun for extended periods of time.
How the Screenings Work
During an oral cancer screening exam, our dentists will look over the inside of your mouth for any red or white patches or sores. Our dentists will also feel the oral tissue for any lumps or abnormalities. If you wear removable dentures, you will be asked to extract them, so the tissue underneath can be examined.
Our dentist will then use a mirror and a light to enable them to see clearly into the oral cavity. They will also often use a tongue depressor to allow them to see into the back of your mouth. Our dentist may insert one finger inside the mouth, under the tongue and on the skin under your chin.
After or during the screening, our dentists may also feel your cheeks, jaw, and chin to feel for abnormalities like nodules. Oral cancer symptoms don't solely include sore patches in the mouth but painless swelling around the mouth.
If you have a higher risk or have noticed something abnormal in your mouth, our dentist may want to go a little more in-depth and have you rinse your mouth with blue die before the screening. Any unusual cells in your mouth cavity will absorb the colored dye, allowing the area to be more visible to our dentist. Oral cancer screenings should only take less than five minutes.
If Your Screening Shows Something
If your dentist discovers something atypical you will be given another appointment a few weeks later to see if the abnormality has changed. A biopsy may be recommended, and this is when the dentist removes a small piece of tissue from the abnormal area and sends it to an external laboratory for cancer testing. At this point, you may be referred to a doctor.
For more information about oral cancer screenings, call the experienced professionals here at Classic Smiles at (407) 378-0139 today!