Should I get oral cancer screening?
Regular dental assessments (at least twice a year) are important as they can unmask dental issues like cancer early before a condition becomes severe. The American Dental Association recommends oral cancer screening for all patients.
Why Get Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening is an exam of your oral cavity and connected tissues. Our dentist in Tampa, FL, may recommend screening in response to your lifestyle choices. Also, you may request it as a precautionary measure. You will also enjoy the following benefits for oral cancer screening:
- Screening is painless. Every patient experiences cancer screening differently. Some feel discomfort while others don’t. The bottom line is, the procedure is pain-free and takes a few minutes, although you may feel some discomfort during the screening.
- Early detection. It makes early treatment possible. One of the main reasons why oral cancer claims many lives is that patients don’t catch it early enough.
When you have physical signs of cancer, such as small lumps, it’s hard to identify them yourself. On the other hand, our dentist in Tampa, FL, can clearly see what’s happening inside your mouth and determine what appears abnormal during a regular dental checkup. If we detect in its initial stages, we come up with a customized treatment plan. We control cancer before it spreads to other parts of your body.
How is The Screening Done?
You don’t need special preparation for screening. Our dentist will perform it during a routine dental check-up. As mentioned above, you can our dentist can recommend it if you are at risk of the ailment. Before the screening, you will remove dentures for our dental team to check the tissues beneath them.
There are different levels of cancer screening; our dental team will start with a basic exam and will follow the following steps:
- Inspect your face, necks, lips, and mouth to look for visible signs of cancer.
- Feel with both hands the area under the jaw and the sides of the neck to check for lumps.
- Inspect the inside of the cheeks and lips.
- The dentist will check for any swelling, discoloration, or abnormal texture.
- Our dentist will also examine the signs of cancer underneath or on the base of your tongue.
- Then we will inspect the throat, the floor, and the roof of the mouth.
The exam is quick and takes five minutes or less. As we perform the above, our aim is to check for lumps and anything that looks unusual.
At Bay Premier Dentistry, we may use additional tests to screen for oral cancer. Such test includes:
- Screening dye. Before the dental exam, we will request you to rinse your mouth with a special blue dye. If you have any unusual cells, they will absorb the dye, and we will detect them easily.
- Screening light. Our dentist will use a shining light in your mouth during the dental exam. The light causes healthy tissue to appear dark, and the abnormal tissue looks white.
If our dental team picks precancerous lesions or signs of oral cancer, we may recommend the following:
- A follow-up. We will schedule a return visit in a few weeks. We will check the abnormal area and see if it has grown or changed with time.
- Do a biopsy. This is a procedure done to determine if the cells are cancerous. Depending on the results, we will start a treatment plan.
What Causes Oral Cancer Screening?
There is no known cause of oral cancer. However, several factors can increase your risk. Chewing and smoking tobacco, overconsumption of alcohol, and HPV are some of the factors.
Don’t Delay the Screening.
If you notice anything abnormal in your oral cavity, visit Bay Premier Dentistry immediately. If the problem is left untreated, it may worsen. The earlier we find a solution, the better.
Screening for oral cancer goes beyond the dental exam. It’s an opportunity to talk to our dentist about your fears and concerns. Book an appointment today and our dental team will answer your queries and advise you on your dental needs.