Oral Cancer Screenings: What You Can Expect?
Oral cancer usually occurs as a sore or growth that resides for a very long time. It mainly includes mouthparts like the cheek, lip, tongue, hard and soft palate, and mouth floor.
This type of cancer can become hazardous if you fail to detect and treat it as early as possible. This is where oral cancer screening comes to rescue. It helps in the early diagnosis of oral cancer and boosts the chances of recovery.
As per the American dental association, you must have a dental check-up two times in a year. The dental professional will help you detect the early signs of tooth decay, gum problems, or oral cancer.
Signs of Oral Cancer
The early stages of oral cancer are asymptomatic. It means you may not spot anything wrong with your mouth. But this does not mean all is well. If you notice the following oral cancer symptoms, call the dentist in Carlsbad immediately.
- Pain or soreness in the lips, mouth, or other mouth regions
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Speaking issues
- Chewing, swallowing, or speaking problem
- A hard neck lump
- White, velvety, or red patches in the mouth
- An issue in moving your tongue
- A crusted rough spot in the mouth
- Numbness in the mouth or lips
- Unexplained mouth bleeding
- Crusted rough spot in the mouth
- Ear pain
- Feeling that something gets stuck in your throat
- A constant mouth sore that bleed
- Huge weight loss
- Changes in the bite
What Happens During an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screening examination is painless and can occur in several minutes. Firstly, the dental expert will review your medical history. This is to find out if you already have a disease or are you taking new medicines since your last visit. After that, the dental hygienist will ask questions about risk factors like alcohol consumption or smoking.
The expert will want to know about your current overall health, including all your dental concerns. During the dental cancer screening, your dentist will perform the exam of different areas both inside and outside the mouth.
This helps them detect any signs of oral cancer like sores, lumps, lesions, etc. Perform an oral dentist near me on Google search to find the expert oral dental professional close to your location.
a) Neck Exam
In this, the expert checks for enlarged lymph nodes in your neck.
b) Lip or Cheek Exam
The dental expert will unfurl your fingers over your lips and cheeks to identify strange patches or bumps that could signify cancer.
c) Tonsil Exam
The expert will use a lighted instrument to identify redness, bumps, or other abnormalities in your tonsils
d) Tongue Exam
In non-smokers, the tongue and near soft tissues are where oral cancer is most likely to be present.
During tongue examination, the dentist uses a gauze piece to hold the tongue. The main aim is to stretch the tongue as far as it can to check the sides and underneath portion for lumps, red and white patches.
e) Mouth Exam
In this examination, the dental expert will deeply check the roof of your mouth to look for any lumps, soft regions, white or red patches.
f) Floor Exam
It is an examination where the dentist press on the mouth floor and under the mouth simultaneously to feel for bumps.
NOTE: Sometimes the dental professional uses special lights and dyes to check for oral cancer signs. These include the following tests:
a) Exfoliative Cytology
In the exfoliative cytology test, the dentist collects mouth cells using a cotton piece, wooden stick, or brush. After that, the expert puts them under a microscope to check for abnormality.
b) Toluidine Blue Stain
In this test, the dental expert uses a blue dye to coat mouth lesions to detect regions that are more prone to oral cancer.
c) Fluorescence Staining
The dental professional shine special types of light on the mouth lesions after applying a fluorescent mouth rinse. This allows them to check for any abnormal tissue.
If your dentist discovers any mouth cancer symptoms or precancerous lesions during oral cancer screenings, he or she may advise:
a) A Follow-Up Appointment
A follow-up dental appointment after several weeks is required to check if the abnormal signs are still there and whether it has changed or increased with time.
b) A Biopsy Procedure
Your dentist will perform the biopsy or may refer you to the skilled oral surgeon to find suspicious signs of mouth cancer. In this process, the oral expert will eliminate a sample of cells for lab testing to identify the cancer cells.