Healthy oral habits can prevent issues that may lead to infections such as gum disease. This problem, also known as gingivitis, can be common in both children and adults; however, if it is left untreated, it may worsen and cause serious discomfort or cause secondary infections within the body. Oral treatments such as scaling and…
Oral Cancer Screening FAQs
Getting an oral cancer screening is important for your well-being. This screening is done by a dentist to look for cancer in your mouth. The goal is to find cancer sooner rather than later. That way, you can still get a cure. Keep reading to learn more.
When is an oral cancer screening done?
Many dentists will do an exam of the mouth during a normal dental visit. That way, they can look for oral cancer. A dentist may also use extra tests to look for abnormal cells in the mouth. Many medical organizations have differing ideas on when to get one. But there is no single exam that will reduce the risk of dying from this condition.
What can a patient expect during a screening?
During the oral cancer screening, the dentist will look at the inside of the patient’s mouth. The dentist will look for white or red patches as well as mouth sores. The dentist will also feel the soft tissues. The goal is to look for abnormalities such as lumps. The dentist may also look at the neck and throat to find lumps.
Are there additional tests?
Sometimes, a dentist will do another test as well as the oral exam to find the cancer. That might include using a screening dye. The patient will rinse the mouth using a blue dye before the exam. Any abnormal cells might look blue after absorbing the dye. With an oral cancer screening light, the dentist will see the healthy tissues as dark. On the other hand, any abnormal tissues will look white.
What additional tests might be done?
If the dentist finds any precancerous signs or other suspicious signs, more testing might be done. The patient might come back in several weeks. The dentist can see if the abnormal area is still there. The dentist can also see if there are changes like growth to the area.
If necessary, the dentist might recommend a biopsy. That will involve taking a sample of the cells to send them to a lab for further testing. That will help the dentist to determine if there are cancerous cells. The dentist might do the biopsy, or the patient may go to another doctor. It is important to remember that the oral cancer screening will not be where the diagnosis happens.
A biopsy will be recommended if a sore has not healed within two weeks. While there are screening devices, a biopsy is the most reliable. Early detection is key. That way, the patient will be more likely to survive.
Visit a dentist for an oral cancer screening today
Whether or not you have any risk factors, you will need to have an oral cancer screening each year. That will help to catch any suspicious signs early on. If you do have risk factors, then you may need to have multiple screenings each year. You do not need to be afraid of this procedure. It is designed to help you catch any oral cancer early.
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