Over forty-five thousand people are diagnosed with oral cancer per year and it can be hard to detect until it causes symptoms, yet, once you do start experiencing symptoms, it may have already spread to other parts of your body. It is important to get oral cancer screenings regularly so it can be diagnosed early, making it easier to treat. Which is why at Southern Dental Group we offer oral cancer screenings as a part of our comprehensive oral exam.
What is an Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral cancer screenings are examinations where your dentist will look for signs of precancerous or cancerous conditions in your mouth and throat. Most screenings can be done as a part of your regular dental exam and check-up, yet your dentist may request additional tests to help identify abnormal cells. Though you don’t necessarily need a screening unless you are at a higher risk, it can still be beneficial to get them regularly.
Who is at Risk?
Anyone can get oral cancer, yet there are factors that can make the likelihood of developing oral cancer higher. Those that smoke or chew tobacco, consume alcohol often, or have a history of sun exposure will have a higher chance of developing oral cancer than those who don’t and should get regular screenings. The best way to reduce your risk of oral cancer is to quit tobacco use and alcohol consumption.
What to Expect During Your Screening
First, your dentist will inspect the inside of your mouth for any red or what patches or sores, which are common symptoms of oral cancer. They may also feel the inside of your mouth for lumps or abnormal tissues. If your dentist would like further testing, they will ask you to rinse your mouth with a blue dye that will be absorbed into abnormal tissues to make them more apparent. If your dentist does find any abnormalities, they will ask you to return in a few weeks to see if they have changed or request a biopsy of the tissue.
Importance of Screenings
In most circumstances, when cancer is found early it will be easier to treat. If you are in the Somerset, KY area and are at a high risk of oral cancer, or would like more information on the screening process, please do not hesitate to contact our office.