What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?

oral cancer screening Mountain View, CA

Regular oral cancer screenings are part of every preventive examination, which means a dentist will thoroughly check a patient's mouth to look for any signs of cancer. Oral cancer can take place in the mouth, as well as the tongue, throat and lips.

The importance of oral cancer screenings

Understanding the importance of an oral cancer screening is something everyone needs to do, even if they do not smoke or abuse alcohol. According to the American Dental Association, an early oral cancer diagnosis has the potential to have a significant impact on treatment decisions and outcomes, and supports routine visual and tactile examinations, particularly for patients who are at risk including those who use tobacco or who are heavy consumers of alcohol.

According to Cleveland Clinic, oral cancer, which often appears as a growth or sore that does not go away, includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheek, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, and throat.

How oral cancer screenings are performed

The information below allows one to understand what happens when a dental professional performs a basic oral cancer screening on them.

A visual examination

The first part of an oral cancer screening includes examining the patient's face, lips, neck, nose and mouth for any abnormalities. Some of the more common signs include bumps, swelling, color patches, ulcerations and anything else that looks out of the ordinary. If a patient wears any type of dental appliance, it needs to be removed so there is an unobstructed view of the entire mouth.

A physical examination

After a dental professional visually examines a patient's mouth in order to look for any signs of oral cancer, they will then use their hands to feel around in the mouth. This physical examination is necessary as not all bumps are able to be seen when performing a visual examination. The dental professional will carefully feel for any bumps or any other abnormalities that may be existing in the patient's mouth, as well as their neck and throat.

Extensive oral cancer screenings

Sometimes a dental patient is in need of a more extensive oral cancer screening. This requires dental professionals to use certain tools in order to collect some of the cells around any areas that look suspicious. Some patients may be asked to use a special mouth rinse that helps make it easier to inspect the mouth or special dental dyes that can better pinpoint any areas of the mouth that are in question.

In need of a cancer screening?

It is important to maintain dentist appointments every six months to ensure that there are no signs of oral cancer. This appointment is especially important when one's lifestyle includes any risk factors that increase the chances of being diagnosed, e.g., smoking tobacco, abusing alcohol, HPV diagnosis. Reach out today to learn more or to get started with an oral cancer screening!

Are you considering an oral cancer screening in the Mountain View area? Get more information at https://smilesdental.com.

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