What to Expect at Your Next Oral Cancer Screening

Posted by Gregg L Lage DDS Nov 24, 2020

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Screening for oral cancer is an important part of helping your mouth stay healthy. This involves a physical and visual exam of your mouth and related tissues. This can reassure you that there are no issues. If there are any, then you can get early treatment. This can be a good precaution. Keep reading to learn more about this type of screening.

Visual exam

Before the exam, the patient should write down a list of any questions for the dentist about dental health. The neck, lips, oral cavity, inside of the nose and face are all areas that get screened for oral cancer. Before a screening, a patient will remove all dental appliances if possible. That way, the area will be exposed. The patient may sit up or lie down.

During the exam, the dentist will look for bumps, colored patches, swellings or asymmetries. The dentist will use a mirror and a light to examine the mouth and nose. A tongue depressor will be used to hold the tongue in place. That way, the dentist can look at the back of the mouth. The dentist might ask the patient to make a sound to expose parts of the throat.

The physical exam

After the dentist has done the visual exam, the areas will be touched. This includes the cheeks, head, under the chin and jaw and in the oral cavity. That way, the dentist can find any masses or unusual lumps. The dentist will also look for oral cancer by testing the tissue’s mobility.

The dentist will ask the patient if anything feels uncomfortable. Oral cancer can sometimes be painful. However, even if a swelling does not hurt, there can still be issues. The patient may need to swallow while the dentist examines the throat.

Devices for oral cancer screening

A dentist may use some types of tools to further look at areas in the mouth. For example, a dentist might use a brush to gently remove suspicious cells for testing. A scope with a blue light may be used to look for odd tissues. The dentist may use a tool that has an acidic mouth rinse. That can help with the inspection.

A nasopharyngolaryngoscope is a simple fiber-optic camera that might be used. After an anesthetic and medication are applied, the dentist will place the instrument down the throat. That way, the pharynx and larynx can be examined. This helps the dentist look for oddities.

Choose oral cancer screenings today

You should keep in mind that a screening for oral cancer is simply a precautionary step, not a diagnostic one. This is a time for you to talk to your dentist about your concerns or fears. You can get advice about reducing your risk. If there is something abnormal, then you might need to have more testing. That can help a dentist determine what is going on. Remember that finding cancer now can help improve your chances of recovery.

Request an appointment here: or call Gregg L Lage DDS, PC at 303-427-4552 for an appointment in our Denver office.

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