Oral Cancer Screening
Visits to the dentist are necessary. During these visits, they ensure your teeth are clean and healthy and that your oral health is in good standing. One common issue that may be tested for by your dentist is oral cancer. As the name suggests, oral cancer is cancer found in the mouth. Often times, oral cancer is non-symptomatic until too late to fully treat. When you visit the dentist, however, there are signs that they can look for to determine if you are in the early stages of oral cancer. Getting an oral cancer screening is an important aspect of visiting the dentist, as it could save you time and pain in the future.
What is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer is a form of cancer that is found in the mouth. Cancer is considered the uncontrollable growth of invasive cells, and depending on where the cancer is located, some are easier to treat than others. Oral cancer can affect any part of the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheeks, palates, sinuses, and throat. If not diagnosed and treated early, oral cancer can be life threatening. Often times, oral cancer is seen in the form of a bump, sore, or growth on one of the above listed parts of the mouth that does not go away.
Why Screenings are Done
Oral cancer screenings are done to ensure that you don’t have oral cancer. Oral cancer can be difficult to detect by oneself, as symptoms are not always clear cut. If oral cancer is caught too late, it may be fatal. That’s why oral cancer screenings are so important, especially in smokers, tobacco chewers, excessive alcohol drinkers, or those with HPV or a family history of cancer. If you fall into one of the above categories, you should undeniably receive an oral cancer screening, as your chances of oral cancer are automatically heightened. These people only account for 75 percent of the population of those who have oral cancer, so it’s very possible that even if you don’t categorize yourself as one of the above groupings, you can still get oral cancer.
What to Expect During a Scan
During an oral cancer screening, you can expect always typically expect the same process. First, your dentist will conduct a visual exam. This will involve your dentist visually observing your mouth, face, neck, and sinuses. Bumps, abnormalities, discoloration, and ulcers are all things your dentist will look out for.
After their visual inspection, they will conduct a physical examination. This physical examination involves the dentist palpating, or touching, the jaw and cheeks, under your chin, and inside the oral cavity. This is done to observe any unusual nodules. Physical discomfort during this stage will be noted.
Lastly, your dentist may use oral cancer screening devices like CBCT dental x-rays dyes, lights, and fiber optic cameras to identify whether or not there may be signs of oral cancer.
Oral Cancer Symptoms
If you believe you may have oral cancer, it’s important to get a screening by your dentist. Some symptoms of oral cancer include sores on the inside of the mouth, pain around the jaw, ears, mouth, or face, bad breath, enlarged lymph nodes, and pain while swallowing. If you have any of these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately for an oral cancer screening.
Get an Oral Cancer Scan
Oral cancer screenings are vital in determining if your oral cavity is in good health or not. It’s important to get an oral screening when you visit the dentist, as symptoms may not appear until the cancer is advanced. Early detection is key. If you’re looking for a dentist to conduct an oral cancer screening, Todd Shatkin DDS can help. We offer free consultations, so call or visit us today to schedule an appointment!
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