Receiving an oral cancer screening is a typical part of your dental examination every six months. While your oral health is being assessed and your teeth cleaned, a sharp eye is kept out for signs of this condition. This screening is performed at every dental visit to catch the condition early. The earlier that oral cancer is identified, the better the chances that your dentist can treat it successfully. Want to know more about how your dentist can help identify oral cancer?
Oral Cancer Screening And Your Dental Visits
There is some disagreement about whether the oral cancer screenings your dentist performs are necessary. Some argue that these screenings only need to be done on patients who have a history of oral cancer or are otherwise at risk. This dispute is due, in part, to the lack of evidence that any screening reduces the risk of dying from oral cancer. Regardless, most dentists are diligent about checking for this condition.
So what exactly are they looking for during a screening? Dentists keep a keen eye out for the formation of lesions that could be precancerous. Your medical professional can easily remove them if they are identified early enough.
Those at increased risk of oral cancer are most likely to benefit from these screenings. Increased risk of oral cancer can be the result of:
- Tobacco Use – Pipes, cigars, chew, snuff, cigarettes, and other forms of tobacco use can cause oral cancer.
- Alcohol Use – Overindulgence in alcohol can increase oral cancer risk levels.
- Sun Exposure – Lip cancer risks can be increased by spending a lot of time in the sun.
There has been an increasing number of reported cases of oral cancer in recent years. The reason behind this remains something of a mystery, but the Human Papillomavirus is suspected. If you have concerns about your risks of developing oral cancer, be sure to speak to your dentist or physician.
What Happens When Oral Cancer Is Suspected?
When your medical professional suspects that oral cancer is present, Your medical professional will order additional tests. Sores that occur in the mouth aren’t that unusual, so there’s no reason to jump to cancer being the cause. The oral exam your dentist performs can’t determine that oral cancer is present, but additional tests can.
The first thing that will happen is your dentist will order additional tests to determine the origin of the sore. In the vast majority of cases, the results will turn out to be noncancerous and harmless. The most common test to determine if oral cancer is present is a biopsy. Biopsies involve removing a small amount of tissue that your specialist will check for cancerous cells.
If you’re concerned about a sore, that’s appeared in your mouth, schedule an appointment. Your dentist can help you determine if the sore needs to be checked out further. They can also help you identify the cause and take steps to reduce your overall risk of developing oral cancer. Call them today to get started!