If you haven’t had an oral cancer screening done before, you might want to have it on your next dental visit at Winter Park. The goal of oral cancer screening is to catch the earliest signs and symptoms of the disease while it’s most responsive to treatment. About 84% of oral cancer cases are detected early by a dental professional. If you don’t know much about oral cancer screenings, read on.
People who are heavy smokers and drinkers or those who have a history of heavy tobacco and alcohol use are classified as high-risk individuals. Those who have trouble swallowing, a persistent sore throat, a persistent ear pain, a mouth sore, or a neck mass that doesn’t go away must undergo oral cancer screening as well. Individuals who aren’t at high risk and who don’t exhibit the signs and symptoms of oral cancer should still undergo routine testing during their bi-annual dental exams.
The dentist will use a tongue depressor and a light source to visually examine the mouth including the teeth, gums, tongue, the floor of the mouth, the roof of the mouth, the insides of the cheeks, tonsils, the back of the throat, and the neck. This will usually last for 5 to 10 minutes. The dentist will look for ulcers, open wounds, discolored patches or spots, and asymmetry of the tonsils. Moreover, they will also use their fingers to feel for neck masses or enlarged lymph nodes.
When the dentist finds a lump or a spot that raises a concern, the patient will be referred to an otolaryngologist who will perform a biopsy of the abnormal finding.
The earlier the oral cancer is detected, the better the prognosis tends to be. Call Dapper Dental to schedule your oral cancer screening!