Oral Cancer Screening: What to Expect

 In Dental Care

Oral cancer screening is a test done by your dentist or doctor to check for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your oral cavity.

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that can affect your mouth and throat. It can occur in the

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Soft or hard palate
  • Gums
  • The inner lining of cheeks
  • The floor of the mouth

What to Expect During Oral Cancer Screening

Your dentist will first perform a physical examination to look for damage to tissues and other abnormalities. They will also use their hands with gloves to feel tissues in the oral cavity for lumps.

There are special tests that your dentist can decide to use to detect cancer cells if present and they are:

  • Oral cancer screening dye is a unique blue dye that you gargle before the screening. Abnormal cells in the mouth take up the dye and become blue.
  • An oral cancer screening light is a light your dentist can use to detect cancer cells. This light makes cancer cells appear white and normal tissues black.

If there are any abnormalities, your dentist will recommend further tests like a biopsy to confirm if the lesions or abnormalities are cancer cells.

Your doctor may also request tests like X-rays, CT scans, MRI, PET scans, and Endoscopy to determine the stage of cancer.

Why You May Need Oral Cancer Screening

It is beneficial as it can aid in early detection, making it easy to treat, and you will have a higher chance of survival.

You may need regular screening if you are at a high risk of getting oral cancer. People at an increased risk of developing this type of cancer include:

  • Heavy smokers
  • Alcoholics
  • Someone with a previous diagnosis of oral cancer
  • People who expose themselves to the sun are at risk of developing lip cancer.
  • Someone with a family history of oral cancer

Final Thought

Having a routine dental checkup can help your dentist notice early signs of oral cancer. Early detection of oral cancer increases the chances of successful treatment.

Contact us to make an appointment for your screening and Wytheville Dental will take great care of you.