Oral Cancer Screening: An Overview

Oral Cancer Screening: An Overview

Jul 01, 2021

A regular visit to the dentist can increase the longevity of your smile. The oral cavity is an equally important part of the body like any vital organ. The oral cavity houses the teeth and tongue. It is also the opening to the pharynx and larynx. The teeth help chew the food, speak distinctly, and open up new avenues in the personal and professional front.

Overview of Oral Cancer Screening

Visiting the dentist at regular intervals can keep dental ailments at bay and improve oral hygiene. You might have wondered what the dental hygienist would have examined by holding your tongue out and feeling around the base of your mouth. Well, that is the initial step of oral Cancer screening.

Oral cancer screening is a preventive procedure to look for symptoms of oral cancer and should commence before symptoms are prominent. Screening for oral cancer can be as quick as brushing your teeth, and a comprehensive oral examination is sufficient to detect oral cancer symptoms.

The dentist or oral hygienist performs a thorough inspection of all the parts of the oral cavity and connective tissues. The roots of the teeth and gums are also inspected. The larynx, pharynx, throat, and sinuses are also examined for apparent symptoms that might trigger oral cancer.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Oral cancer might develop in any part of the oral cavity, and the symptoms include:

  • Loose teeth without apparent reason.
  • Pain in the mouth.
  • Pain in the ears.
  • A growth of lump inside the mouth.
  • A sore lips or mouth that does not heal.
  • White or reddish patches inside the mouth.
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing.

The Procedure of Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is an extended part of the comprehensive oral examination. Oral cancer screening is done in two steps:

Visual Examination

Before cancer screening, you need to get rid of the removable dental prostheses as dentures or crowns. Removal of dental appliances ensures proper examination of the oral cavity. The dentist would look for inflammations, bumps, asymmetries, ulceration, or patches of colors. A thorough examination of the face, lips, teeth, gums, cheeks, neck, oral cavity, and nose is also performed.

The inside of the mouth and larynx is looked into by the dentist by using a mirror and light. The tongue depressor might be used to hold the tongue during examination. You might be asked to stick the tongue out to have a minute look.

Physical Examination

The visual examination is followed by physical examination where the dental professional would touch your neck, throat, face, and mouth to feel for any unusual lumps or nodules. Often symptoms of oral cancer are painful, but the initial stages are painless.

Risk Factors of Oral Cancer

Lifestyle is an important indicator of cancer. Certain habits or factors might contribute to oral cancer:

  • Heavy consumption of alcohol.
  • Chewing of tobacco and smoking.
  • Unhealthy diet.
  • Family or record of cancer.
  • Age.
  • Excessive exposure to direct sun rays.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Human Papillomavirus.

The Need for Oral Cancer Screening

The need for oral cancer screening goes with the old saying, “prevention is better than cure.” Oral cancer screening is performed to detect signs of oral cancer or precancerous lesions that might lead to oral cancer.

A comprehensive oral examination might give the dentists a chance to detect the symptoms of oral cancer. People who run a high risk of oral cancer are more benefited from oral cancer screening. Early detection of oral cancer reduces the chance of severity and can save a life. Early detection of oral cancer can also increase the chances of successful treatment. Oral cancer screening aims to detect cancer early before the symptoms are prominent and reduce the chances of causalities.

When to See a Dentist?

Visiting the dentist at regular intervals, at least twice a year, is recommended. Oral cancer screening is a short test of the oral cavity that can be done while performing an oral examination by the dentist. Pleasure Dental in Royse City, TX, has a pool of friendly staff and experienced dentists to perform oral cancer screening.

With a proven track record of over 35 years, Pleasure Dental provides unparalleled, honest, and top-class dental care. Apart from oral cancer screening, we also provide sleep apnea treatment, dental implants, and root canals. Book an appointment to know more.

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