How Do Dentists Perform Oral Cancer Screening?

How Do Dentists Perform Oral Cancer Screening?

Dec 01, 2021

Oral cancer screening is a painless technique done by the dentist to detect potential signs of oral cancer. A dentist near you can recommend an oral cancer screening every year if:

  • You're over the age of 40. It is, however, important to note that oral cancer has been on the rise in young people because of the exposure to Human Papilloma Virus.
  • Smoking or alcohol use.
  • Oral cancer, including lip cancer, is on your medical history.
  • Oral lesions are present in your mouth; red patches, white patches, thickening, ulcers, and sores. A dentist in Edmonton can diagnose oral cancer by performing an oral cancer screening. Oral Cancer can be detected at a very early stage when it is easiest to treat.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer may occur on any part of the tongue or in all parts of the mouth but are most prevalent on the floor of the mouth, gums, cheeks, upper throat (tonsils), or lips. Oral cancers are associated with certain risk factors, including tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption.

What Happens During Oral Cancer Screening in Edmonton, AB?

Oral cancer screening is a painless procedure that checks the inside of the mouth, lips, and gums for any abnormalities. Your dentist will check inside your mouth with a tongue depressor to examine the surrounding areas of your lips and gums. Oral cancer screening is a fairly simple process, but you should always tell your dentist if you have any sores or irritation on the inside of your mouth before a diagnosis begins. If it is determined that a lesion is suspicious for oral cancer, then you might need additional tests conducted. Oral cancer is a very dangerous disease, so it's important to have regular oral cancer screenings. Oral cancer screenings are only an effective method for diagnosing oral cancers if performed regularly. If you have experienced mouth sores or irritation in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist for an assessment. The dentist performs both visual and physical exams.
  • Visual exam
Dental specialists will search for asymmetries, bumps, patches of color, ulcerations, and other anomalies. They'll be looking at your face, neck, lips, jaw, cheeks (particularly the inner aspect), inside of your nose and oral cavity (particularly the lining), and the rest of your body. Your dentist near you will look in your mouth with a light and mirror to check for abnormalities. They'll also use a tongue depressor to keep your tongue pinned down and examine the back of your mouth, much like a physical. Your dental professional will request that you stick out your tongue to expose regions in your throat that are difficult to see
  • Physical exam
Your dentist will examine your face, mouth, and neck to detect any strange nodules or masses. Touch is essential for them to discover any cancer-causing abnormalities in your mouth. A tactile examination aids in the detection of hard lumps of tissue. Even though oral cancer screening should be performed at least once a year, dentists must first evaluate their patients' risk for developing this disease. Oral cancer is more commonly seen in males than females and occurs most frequently among people aged 50 years and older. Tobacco users are also at higher risk for oral cancer.

What Happens After Oral Cancer Screening?

After the screening, if there are any abnormal cells, the dentist can recommend a biopsy. A biopsy is an office procedure that involves taking a small tissue sample from the suspected area. A pathologist then examines this tissue under a microscope to look for any signs of cancer.

If Oral Cancer Screenings Are Important, Why Aren't They Done More Often?

Oral cancer screening should indeed be performed at least once a year. However, oral cancer screenings are only one part of overall cancer prevention. Oral cancer screenings should be done in conjunction with other procedures that help prevent oral cancer. These include good oral hygiene, not using tobacco products, and regular dental checkups.

Schedule an Appointment

Visit Kensington Dental Clinic for more information about oral cancer screening.

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