If you are at a higher risk for cancer, then having an oral cancer screening is a must. But even if you aren’t at a high risk, you may as well have your dentist do a screening because it’s so quick and easy.
What is an oral cancer screening?
Again, these screenings are an extremely quick and easy way to catch early oral cancers. Unlike other medical tests, oral cancer screenings don’t include labwork or radiology.
Rather, Dr. Huang will take a look inside your mouth to examine the roof of your mouth, as well as your tongue, salivary ducts, and gums. He will just use gloved hands to feel different oral structures.
Your dentist may also use a flashlight or a tongue depressor to access difficult-to-see areas in the mouth.
Lastly, your dentist won’t just look inside your mouth, he will also check your lips and feel your neck for any abnormalities.
Abnormalities that your dentist will watch out for include:
- Lumps or nodules
- White or red patches on your gums, lips, and skin
- Swollen or painful areas
- Uneven or crusty skin textures
While sight and palpation are the main sensory tools for cancer screenings, some dentists do additional tests. For example, your dentist may rinse your mouth with a special dye called Toluidine blue. This dye is useful since it marks abnormal cell growth.
Learn more about our preventive dentistry services.
What are the benefits of oral cancer screenings?
As you can guess, the obvious benefit is catching oral cancer early on. Like many other cancers, the sooner you catch it, the better chance you have of eradicating it.
Cancer screenings are great because they:
- Are a low-cost preventative measure, since screenings are often included in annual teeth cleaning appointments
- Are painless and noninvasive
- Have no contraindications
- Increase survival rates
Who’s mainly at risk, and what should they look for?
Individuals at the greatest risk for oral cancers include those who consume tobacco products, use alcohol in excess, or have UVA/B ray skin damage. But the good news is that these kinds of risk factors can be reduced if an individual cuts back his or her habits. For instance, cutting back on smoking and drinking could improve your recovery rate, even with a cancer diagnosis.
And if you work outside or tan regularly, make sure you put on sunscreen and SPF lip balm. Visiting a dermatologist regularly along with your dental check-ups should help you catch any cancerous cells on your face, lips, or neck.
And whether or not you’re at risk, you should be aware of common oral cancer symptoms:
- Sores that open and bleed instead of healing
- A sore throat or cold that doesn’t get better
- Swelling around the thyroid or in lymph nodes
- Chronic hoarseness or coughing
- Discomfort while eating and/or swallowing
- Thickening skin inside or outside your mouth
- Color changes on skin, lips, tongue, cheeks, etc.
If you have a developing condition with one or more of these signs, it’s best to can get in touch with All in One Dental Innovations. Even if you don’t think it’s oral cancer, it’s best to just rule it out from the get-go.
Are you overdue for an oral cancer screening? Contact All In One Dental today!
Call All In One Dental Innovations today at (925) 828-9811 to set up a consultation to determine if now is a good time to receive an oral cancer screening. You can also contact us by requesting an appointment online.
New to the area and after having the same dentist my whole life it was finally time to look for a new one.
I got myself and my fiance a cleaning and consultation and we both instantly fell in love with Dr. James and his staff. Everyone here is super friendly and extremely gentle.
Nelli takes care of any insurance questions you may have and goes over many details before you get your next appointment booked.
I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone looking for friendly dental work.