What to Expect at an Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening Phoenix, AZ

Oral cancer screening is an examination that is conducted by a dentist. It is used to look for any signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. Its goal is to identify mouth cancer early, which increases the chances of a cure. A majority of dentists perform an examination of the mouth during a routine visit to screen for oral cancer. Some dentists often decide to use additional tests to help identify areas of abnormal cells in the mouth.

Oral cancer screening

An oral cancer screening is basically a physical and visual exam of the oral cavity as well as connected tissues. It can reassure patients that there are no apparent issues. If there are any problems, it may trigger early treatment. Screening may be suggested due to a patient’s lifestyle choices or it can be requested by the patient as a precautionary measure. Here is what an oral cancer screening entails.

Visual exam

Some major parts that are focused on when it comes to oral cancer screening are the lips, face, inside of the nose, neck and oral cavity. Before the screening, the patient will be required to take out all removable dental appliances to help expose every area. For example, if a patient wears dentures, it will have to be taken out so that the tissue beneath can be checked. The health care provider will look for swellings, asymmetries, bumps, color patches, ulcerations or other abnormalities.

The dentist may use a light as well as a mirror to examine inside the mouth and nose. A tongue depressor will help hold the tongue down as the health care provider looks at the back of the mouth. Areas in the throat that are often hard to see can be exposed by having the patient say “Ahh.” Other tools can also help the dentist evaluate the roof of the mouth, throat, tonsils, the gums, inner cheeks and under the tongue.

Physical exam

Either during or after the visual exam, the dentist will touch the head and cheeks, around the patient’s jaw, under the chin and in the oral cavity. The health care provider will feel for any unusual masses or nodules. Another indicator of a potential issue is immobility in normally mobile tissue. The patient will be asked whether or not physical contact at such a place causes any discomfort. Even though the symptoms of oral cancer are often painful, a painless swelling can be an indicator of problems somewhere else. The patient may also be asked to swallow as the throat is being examined.

After oral cancer screening

If your dentist notices anything unusual during the exam, you may be required to return at regular intervals for further screening. In some cases, you may be referred for further tests. However, results that may require further investigation may not necessarily be a cancer diagnosis. But if cancer is found, early diagnosis will help reduce treatment-related health problems in the future. People who are undergoing oral cancer treatment should adhere to good oral hygiene practices. Using the recommended oral care products will also help.

Are you considering oral cancer screening in the Phoenix area? Get more information at https://www.sundancedentalcare.com.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Oral Cancer Screening in Phoenix, AZ.

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