The goal of oral cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.
What is Oral Cancer Screening?
Oral Cancer Screening is an examination performed by our highly trained dentists here at One Fine Smile in order to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. Most dentists perform an oral cancer screening examination of your mouth during a routine dental exam. The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured.
Who needs to have an Oral Cancer Screening?
Everyone is at risk for potentially getting oral cancer. Cancer can affect children or adults, it is that reason that our doctors perform oral cancer screenings. However, certain people are at higher risks for getting it than others. Our dentists here at One Fine Smile look for signs of many types of oral health problems during a regular dental examination including cancer. We will take a thorough health history and determine whether you need to have an oral cancer screening done. Certain people have additional risk factors that increase their risks of oral cancer. It remains crucial for oral cancers to be caught early, so that these cancers can be successfully treated and cured.
Who is at a higher risk for getting Oral Cancer?
Behaviors and other factors increase a person’s chances of having oral cancer, including:
- Using tobacco in any form, including cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, cigarettes and vaping.
- Heavy alcohol use.
- A previous diagnosis of oral cancer.
- A history of significant sun exposure, which might be a factor in causing lip cancer.
- If you have a high cancer rate in your family history.
What happens during an Oral Cancer Screening procedure?
Our highly trained dentists will examine your mouth during routine dental exams to look for signs of cancer in your mouth. They visually exam the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. These patches or mouth sores can be the first indication that you may have a serious problem.
Additional testing might be required that could be beneficial to the results of the test that include:
- Shining a light in your mouth during an exam. The light makes healthy tissue appear dark and makes abnormal tissue appear white. This is a good diagnostic tool in the prevention of cancer.
- The use of a specialized blue dye-this blue dye is used to rinse your mouth with before the exam. Abnormal cells in your mouth may absorb the dye and appear blue. This is a good indication of oral cancer cells.
If a suspicious area is observed, you may be scheduled for a follow-up visit in a few weeks or may need to have a biopsy done. There will be additional testing done in the area of concern and you and the dentist will go over all the results.
If you think you need to have an oral cancer screening done, or would like more information regarding oral cancer screenings, please call our office today and one of our helpful staff members will be happy to further assist you.