Oral Cancer Screening
You may not realize it but an oral cancer screening just like any other cancer screening is very important. It is a procedure that needs to be done before any oral cancer symptoms start showing. An oral cancer screening is part of oral preventive therapy and can be performed during any appointments or visits to our dental office. It is a fast procedure often lasting for less than five minutes. Although you may screen yourself, it is likely that you may miss some areas thus allowing late detection of your oral cancer. Our specialists at Michelle Hedgecock, DDS are able to catch the things that you may miss from doing a self-screening.
How Oral Cancer Screening is Done
Numerous equipment are utilized to perform the screening, but sometimes, they don’t have to be used simply because the examination is mainly visual. Our dentist may use an oral brush biopsy to remove cells without causing pain. The dentist also does a physical oral examination with aid of a special light to help identify the presence of any cancerous cells. Additionally, our dentist may perform an oral lesion examination whereby you rinse the mouth to help with a visual inspection of the tissues.
The dentist performs the screening using the fingers to help feel the tissue. This kind of inspection helps feel the tongue, cheeks, and other areas and see if there may be lumps or unusual tissue formations. Additionally, our dentist checks on your saliva, particularly in areas around spots where there is excessive pigmentation. If there are areas of concern in the mouth, the dentist may consider having more tests.
What Does Oral Cancer Screening Address?
When our dentist performs an oral cancer screening, she is often looking for signs of oral cancer. Oftentimes, cancer occurs due to things like the use of tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, or past occurrences of the disease. If you spend much time basking under the sun without using UV protection, you may develop lip cancer or skin cancer. Avoiding these habits and behaviors can reduce the risk.
What Happens After the Screening?
Once the dentist suspects something unusual with your mouth that indicates the possibility of oral cancer, you are given a follow-up visit. The dentist will continue monitoring the signs. A biopsy may be performed as well. Something to mention here is that some spots or lumps found in the mouth may not be cancerous. Therefore, any presence of spots and lumps shouldn't mean that you already have oral cancer. Catching the signs early on allows you to start treatment earlier, which increases the chances of eliminating the disease.
Do not wait any longer to get your oral cancer screening. Whenever you visit our dental office at Michelle Hedgecock, DDS make sure that you request a screening. If you have not had one in the past year, it is time you should come to our dental office for a screening. During your regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings, we make sure that we look for any signs of oral cancer. Call us at (512) 617-3361 and book an appointment for an oral cancer screening.