When it comes to health checkups, people may not always be on top of the proper schedule. For instance, with at least one regular dental checkup every six months, we can help to keep your teeth healthy with more than just a professional cleaning. We can examine the mouth for any signs of infection, other…
What to Expect at an Oral Cancer Screening From a Complete Health Dentist
With early detection, it is possible to treat oral cancer successfully. Therefore it is crucial to undergo periodic oral cancer screening to discover the condition before the symptoms become apparent. This screening reassures patients that they have nothing to worry about or prompts them to seek immediate treatment. This article highlights some of the things you can expect during oral cancer screening.
Before starting the oral cancer screening, the dentist may ask the patients about certain symptoms and habits like smoking and alcohol intake. The patient’s answers will help the dentist decide whether they need to perform additional exams on certain parts of the teeth and gums. Therefore, it is vital to be as honest as possible when answering the questions. The dentist needs to know about any lump (even if small), voice changes or differences in normal tongue movement.
During this process, the dentist will look inside the patient’s mouth, nose, lips, face and neck. They will check for any swelling, inflammation, bumps, or anomalies like color patches and ulcerations. For this stage of the screening, the dentist will use a mirror, light and tongue depressor for a better view. Generally, the visual exam is like a routine dental exam.
The next stage of the process is a physical examination. The dental professional will touch the patient’s cheeks, head, jaw and oral cavity, searching for precancerous tissues such as nodules or strange swelling. They will also check for immobile tissues or painful spots around the face or mouth. Although these areas might be pain-free, it is hard to say that they are cancer-free. Therefore, it is better for the trained professional to screen for the problem.
For oral cancer screening, the dentist may also utilize certain tech devices. For instance, there is a special brush for taking cell samples for testing painlessly. A fiber-optic camera or nasopharyngolaryngoscope may be used to check the pharynx and larynx—these devices aid accuracy and meticulousness during the screening process.
There are cases where the dentist will suggest additional tests during the oral examination. This may include the use of oral cancer screening light, which entails shining a light inside the patient’s mouth. Healthy oral tissues look dark under the light, while abnormal tissues look white. Another option would be to use a unique blue dye to rinse the oral cavity before the exam. Abnormal oral tissues will turn blue after absorbing the dye.
If the dentist detects any indication of oral cancer or precancerous lesions, they might recommend that the patient schedule another appointment in a few weeks for additional screening to see if the abnormality remains or if it has developed or changed. They might also take a cell sample in the suspected area for lab tests to ascertain the presence of cancer cells.
You need to know that the additional tests are precautionary and do not necessarily mean you have oral cancer. If oral cancer is detected eventually, you can be sure of effective treatment with early detection. If you need oral cancer screening, contact the complete health dentist today.
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