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Oral cancer screening includes a series of tests performed by dentists looking for signs and symptoms of oral cancer or other precancerous conditions. The aim is to look for signs of oral cancer before at the earliest stage possible and treat it before it can become serious. Sun Ridge Smiles provides thorough oral cancer screening services so we can detect mouth cancer and treat it in its initial stages. Please continue reading for a detailed discussion of oral cancer screening and oral cancer prevention.

Why do you Need Oral Cancer Screening?

The primary goal of oral cancer screening is to either treat oral cancer at the earliest possible or prevent it completely. Cancerous lesions are easiest to remove when they’re still small and young — so that’s when you need to focus on oral cancer screening.

Most people should go for regular oral cancer screening because anyone can suffer from oral cancer. However, some people have a higher risk of oral cancer than others and they should especially go for regular oral cancer screening.

The following are some situations that indicate you’re at a high risk of oral cancer and need screening:

  • You consume tobacco regularly — either as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, or any other form.
  • You’re a regular consumer of alcohol.
  • You’re constantly exposed to direct sunlight.
  • You’ve got a prior oral cancer diagnosis.

Detecting Oral Cancer

Oral cancer or mouth cancer can affect any part of your mouth and oral cavities — gums, roof or floor of your mouth, tongue, cheeks, or any other. You should be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Non-healing sores or wounds around your mouth and lips.
  • Formation of white or red patches in your mouth.
  • Weakened or loosened teeth.
  • Formation of lumps in your mouth.
  • Painful sensations in your mouth and ears.
  • Difficulty while swallowing.

Oral Cancer Screening Tests

Dentists go through various types of examinations while looking for signs of oral cancer. The following are the different steps involved in oral cancer screening tests.

Visual Examination

As the name suggests, visual examination involves the dentist visually inspecting your mouth and oral cavities for signs of oral cancer. This includes the following:

  • The dentist will carefully inspect your oral cavity, neck, lips, nose, and face.
  • You’ll have to remove any dental appliances you may be wearing so the dentist can examine your mouth without disruptions.
  • The dentist will look for signs like ulcers, patches, bumps, or swellings.
  • With a tongue depressor, the dentist will hold your tongue down and use a small mirror and light to look for signs deep within your mouth.
  • Other tools and instruments may be used to examine your throat, tongue, and tonsils.

 

Physical Examination

After visually inspecting your mouth, the dentist will physically inspect your mouth using touch. This will include the following:

  • The dentist will touch your head, oral cavities, cheeks, and mouth to look for bumps and swellings.
  • The dentist will ask you if there’s stiffness in any part of your mouth and touch it to check for mobility and discomfort.
  • The dentist will ask you to swallow and convey how it feels.

 

Screening Tests

After the visual and physical examination are done, the dentist will run some oral cancer screening tests to confirm their findings. These include the following:

  • The dentist will shine a light inside your mouth. This is a special light that makes regular tissues appear dark but abnormal tissues appear white.
  • The dentist may also ask you to rinse your mouth with a special blue dye. This dye doesn’t affect regular tissues but it clings to abnormal tissues, which makes them more evident during the inspection.

Guided Tissue Bone Regeneration

Oral Cancer Prevention

There’s no way to make sure you don’t get oral cancer, but you can take certain precautions to minimize the risk of oral cancer. The following tips will help you avoid oral cancer:

  • Don’t smoke or consume tobacco in any of its various forms. Tobacco exposes your cells to extremely dangerous chemicals that drastically increase your risk of mouth cancer.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks a day for those under the age of 65 and just one drink a day for those over the age of 65. Alcohol consumption — when done in excess — also increases your risk of mouth cancer.
  • Continued exposure to direct sunlight also increases your risk of oral cancer. So put sunscreen on your mouth and wear a broad-rimmed hat or use an umbrella when you’re out in the sun.
  • Go for regular oral cancer screening tests so the dentist can look for signs of oral cancer and treat them before they get serious.

EMERGENCY DENTIST IN EL PASO, TX

Oral Cancer Screening Q&A

All types of dentists can test for oral cancer, including orthodontists. All dentists are specially trained to look for signs of oral cancer and many even provide it as a complimentary service with your regular dental checkups. Oral cancer screening tests are also often included in insurance plans.

If done by a professional and reputable dentist, oral cancer screening takes less than 5 minutes.

An abnormality in your oral cancer screening doesn’t necessarily mean you have oral cancer so you shouldn’t get worried. Out of all the people who get an abnormal screening, only a few actually have oral cancer. Follow your doctor’s instructions and prepare for further oral cancer investigation. This may include biopsy and other tests.

Sun Ridge Smiles is one of the best dental clinics for oral cancer screening. We have highly-qualified doctors who carefully examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer or precancerous lesions. If any abnormalities are found, we schedule further treatments — our primary goal is to help you avoid oral cancer at all costs. For more information, please schedule your oral cancer screening test today.