Tests We Can Perform During an Oral Cancer Screening
Posted on 2/29/2020 by Moyer Office
There are many precautions you can take to prevent you from oral cancer, but regular oral cancer screenings in our office are crucial to detect signs of precancerous conditions as early as possible if they exist. As with any type of cancer, early detection and timely treatment are crucial and may save your life.
Although your dentist should examine your mouth for signs of cancer during routine visits, you should receive a more thorough oral cancer exam from our office every 6 months to 1 year, especially if you are at a higher risk for oral cancers from alcohol or tobacco use or certain medical conditions. In order to understand the importance of oral cancer screening, it helps to know what kinds of tests we will perform during this procedure.
What Happens During Oral Cancer Screening?
Your dentist can perform a basic oral cancer screening that includes an examination of all parts of your mouth, including your gums, tongue, roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, and the back of your throat. The oral cancer exam typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes, and you can expect a finger probing around your tongue and along the insides of your cheeks, and your dentist should also feel under your jaw.
We will pay close attention to any lumps, red or white patches, or abnormalities in your saliva. In a more in-depth screening, we will ask you to rinse with a blue dye prior to the exam, which unusual cells in your mouth will absorb and make them easier to detect. If we discover anything concerning, we will perform specific tests to determine the source of any abnormalities. We may also take a biopsy to send to the lab for further screening.
Regular oral cancer screenings are vital for early detection and effective treatment and should be performed no matter your level of risk. If you have questions or concerns regarding your overall oral health or your risk of oral cancer, please contact our office to schedule a visit.