Oral Cancer Screening
An uncontrollable growth of cells that invades other cells and tissues, causing severe damage, is termed as cancer. It can affect different parts of the body, including the mouth as well. Oral cancer is an unpleasant and unfortunate condition for the affected individual. It impairs the individual from standard oral functions. Oral cancer screening is done to detect oral cancer from an early stage. It involves examining the mouth for any precancerous lesions that can lead to oral cancer.
Factors that increase the risk of acquiring oral cancer include tobacco use in any form like cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, and chewing tobacco. Heavy alcohol use, previous oral cancer diagnosis, and significant sun exposure also increase the risk of acquiring oral cancer. Individuals at higher risks of developing oral cancer are more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening. Elliott Dentistry has an expert panel to help you understand all you need to know about oral cancer screening.
When to Get an Oral Cancer Screening?
If the individual experiences any swelling, lumps, rough or eroded spots, and any development of velvety red-colored, white, or speckled patches in the mouth or on the lips or gums, they should seek expert attention. Any unexplained bleeding in the oral cavity, numbness, tenderness on any area of the face, persistent sores that do not heal, or a feeling of something being caught in the rear end of the throat are also potential symptoms.
Along with this, the individual may experience difficulty performing standard oral functions, chronic sore throat, ear pain, hoarseness, a change in how the teeth fit together, and unexplained weight loss. If the individual experiences any of the symptoms mentioned above, they should consult an expert immediately.
How is a Screening for Oral Cancer Performed?
Oral cancer screening does not involve any special preparation steps and can be performed during a regular visit to the dentist. During the exam, our dentist will check the mouth's insides for any red or white patches or mouth sores.
They may also feel the mouth's inner tissues for any lumps or abnormalities. A throat and neck exam may also be performed to check for lumps and other oddities.
Additional Testing Techniques
In addition to the regular oral cancer screening exam, the dentist may also perform some additional tests. These include oral cancer screening dye and oral cancer screening light.
Oral cancer screening dye involves rinsing the individual's mouth with a special blue dye before the examination. Any area that takes the shade up and appears blue indicates the presence of abnormal cells.
An oral cancer screening light involves the use of a unique light tool. The light is shone on the insides of the mouth during the examination. Healthy tissues appear dark under the light, whereas abnormal tissues appear white.
What to Expect After an Exam?
If any precancerous lesions are discovered, our dentist may recommend a follow-up visit or a biopsy procedure. The follow-up visit allows our dentist to check if the abnormal area is still present and if any changes or growth occurred.
The biopsy procedure involves removing a sample of cells from the mouth and sending it to a laboratory for testing. This allows determining the presence or absence of cancer cells. Oral cancer can be effectively dealt with when identified in time, so to book your appointment, reach out Elliott Dentistry by dialing 971-274-4360.