Oral cancer screening is an examination that a dentist or a doctor performs looking for any signs of cancer or for precancerous conditions in your mouth. The goal of the examination is identifying mouth cancer at an early stage.
The chances of treating the cancer at an early stage are high before it affects a significant part of your body. The mouth examination is performed during a routine visit to the dentist. Dentists may add some tests that may help in the identification of mouth areas with abnormal cells.
Why Oral Cancer Screening is Done
It is easier to remove lesions or cancer at an early stage. People who are likely to have oral cancer tend to benefit more from oral cancer screening. Here are some factors that might increase the chances of getting oral cancer:
- Using tobacco either in cigarettes, pipes, cigars or even chewing.
- Drinking very high amounts of alcohol.
- Previously diagnosed with oral cancer.
- History of significant exposure to the sun might increase the risk of lip cancer.
What to Expect During the Oral Screening Exam?
During oral cancer screenings in 77546, the dentist checks for mouth sores or white or red patches inside your mouth. He will also check for any abnormalities or lumps by feeling your mouths tissue with gloved hands. Your neck and throat might be examined for lumps too.
The additional oral cancer screening tests in Friendswood might involve the following:
- Oral cancer screening dye. Before the exam you might be given a blue dye to rinse your mouth with. Any abnormal cells in the mouth will take up the blue dye and have a blue appearance.
- Oral cancer screening light. It involves shining a light inside your mouth during the exam. The light makes an abnormal tissue have a white appearance while a healthy tissue has a dark appearance.
- Exfoliative cytology. This is a procedure that collects cells from the oral cavity or lip. A brush, wooden stick or a piece of cotton is used to scrape cells gently from the tongue, lips, throat or mouth. The cells are then viewed to determine if they are abnormal.
Limitation of Oral Cancer Screening
- Oral cancer screening might lead to some additional tests. Many people have mouth sores and most of the sores are noncancerous. The exam is unable to determine the sores that are cancerous and the ones that aren’t. The only way to be sure that you have oral cancer is by having a biopsy done on the abnormal cells.
- All mouth cancers cannot be detected by oral cancer screening. It’s hard to detect abnormal cell areas by just taking a look at the mouth. The possibility of a precancerous lesion or small cancer going undetected is quite high.
- How to Prevent Oral Cancer
- Practice good oral hygiene. Most people focus on getting rid of bad breath and avoiding cavities in terms of oral health. Only a low percent of people thinks about ways of oral cancer prevention.
- Always keep your throat and mouth healthy.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Apart from paying the dentist a visit after every six months you can also keep your mouth and teeth healthy by brushing and flossing two times a day.
- Get HPV vaccination. Oropharyngeal cancers are greatly associated with Human papilloma virus. Most cancers that are HPV related are more common with men. It usually displays symptoms such as consistent swelling in the neck.
- Shielding your lips from the sun. There is a relation between lip cancer and ultraviolet radiation from the sun. People who are exposed to the sun for a long period of time have a high likelihood of having lip cancer. When you are going outside always apply a protective lip balm. Get an oral screening from any dentistry near you.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Consistent bleeding in the mouth for a week or more
- Presence of lumps in the neck or mouth
- Experiencing pain in your mouth that lasts for about two weeks or more
- Dramatic voice changes, this is more common with people that smoke
- Earaches that are persistent
- The chin and lower lip might become numb
Friendswood Smile is a dentistry located in Friendswood, TX, whose services include oral cancer screening, family dentistry and implant dentistry. Our main objective is to provide our patients with comprehensive dental care and help them improve their oral health.