If you’ve gone to the dentist recently for a routine appointment, you might have noticed that there’s another component to your visit aside from the standard dental exam and the teeth cleaning: the oral cancer screening. Performing an oral cancer screening has become standard practice, and for good reason. When it is detected early, oral cancer is more easily treated. So what is it that dental professionals are actually doing when they check for oral cancer? We have the answers!
Detecting Oral Cancer
When your dentist asks you to open your mouth so they can check for oral cancer, there are a few things they are looking for. They’ll check whether there are any sores, red or white patches, unusual swellings or bumps, or any rough areas. All of those can be a sign of oral cancer. Your dentist might also touch around your cheeks, chin, jaw, and neck to see if there are any abnormalities or sensitivities there as well.
The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings
All in all, an oral cancer screening takes less than five minutes, but that short amount of time could save a life! If no abnormalities are found, then you’re good to go. If there is something that requires monitoring, your dentist will either request additional testing or refer you out to get a closer look to determine whether the issue is actually cancer. The sooner oral cancer is treated, the better so it’s always a good idea to take care of your health through preventive measures such as these.
If you’re concerned you may have oral cancer, or you have other questions about oral cancer screenings, contact us at Ashley Laird, DDS. We provide the treatment as part of our routine services, and our friendly team is happy to help you in any way that we can. We look forward to assisting you over the phone, by email, or the next time you swing by our practice in Tyler!