Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings involve the examination of the mouth to look for signs of cancer. A dentist will carry out an examination to detect signs of abnormal or precancerous conditions. The objective of the screening is to identify signs of cancer early enough while there is a higher chance of a cure.


Dentists perform the screening during routine dental visits. Additional tests may be used to identify any abnormal cells in the mouth. The dentist may recommend additional tests based on risk factors that you might exhibit.


Risk Factors for Oral Cancer


Several factors can increase a person’s risk of getting oral cancer. The factors include the use of tobacco of any kind, heavy alcohol consumption, and significant sun exposure. Individuals with a previous diagnosis of oral cancer, or other cancers are also at high risk. 


There has been an increase in the number of people diagnosed with oral cancer in the last several years. Screening tests can help to detect cancer early, and early detection is key.


What to Expect During Screening


Oral cancer screenings don’t require special preparation and are usually performed during a routine dental checkup. During the screening, the dentist will examine the mouth to look for signs of mouth sores or white or red patches. 


The dentist will also feel around the mouth tissues to check for abnormalities such as lumps. Screening may also include checking the neck and throat for any lumps. Where necessary, special tests may be used to screen for oral cancer.


Results of Screening Tests


If the dentist discovers signs of an abnormality or a potentially cancerous lesion, various recommendations will follow. The dentist may recommend a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks to determine if the abnormality is still present. The subsequent visit will help detect changes or growth in the area. 


The dentist may also recommend further investigation with testing or even a biopsy. During the biopsy procedure, sample cells are removed and tested to determine if they are cancerous. Most dentists will refer the patient to a specialized doctor for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Oral cancer screenings are very important regardless of your age. Dental check-ups aren’t only about teeth, that’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly so they can check the entire mouth for you. The mouth is the gateway to your body and says a lot about your overall health!


To learn more about cancer screenings, visit Hamlin Modern Dentistry at our office in Winter Garden, Florida. You can also call (407) 993-6370 to schedule an appointment today.

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