What Can You Expect During Oral Cancer Screenings?
Regular dental checkups are vital to your oral health since they can do so much for you besides giving you a stunning smile. These checkups give our dentist in Rutherford the chance to check on your oral health and perform oral cancer screening.
Oral cancer can sneak up on you since the early signs are not easily detected by the untrained eye. When you notice the symptoms, the disease has already spread, and the chances of treating it are much lower.
That’s why you need to frequently visit our dental office in Rutherford to get screened for oral cancer. Oral cancer screening involves checking your mouth for signs of precancerous or cancerous conditions.
Why Is Screening Essential?
The primary reason for oral cancer screening is to facilitate early detection of cancer or other precancerous swellings in your oral cavity.
Some people may assume or even argue that seemingly healthy individuals shouldn’t bother to get screened if they don’t have any risk factors. So, you need to visit our dentist, who will help you make the right choice whether you should get screened or not.
Early detection is always the best way to go since you get a better chance to treat the disease rather than wait for symptoms to appear.
Oral Cancer Screening Overview
Oral cancer screenings in Rutherford are not as scary as they may sound. The thought that the screening might reveal that you have oral cancer can be scary; however, it is better that you know that you walk thinking that you are okay.
The procedure isn’t scary, nor is it painful. It is a physical and visual exam of your oral cavity and can help reassure you there are no issues. If there are any issues, treatment will start right away.
What to Expect During Screening
Before coming to our dental office in Rutherford, there’s no need to prepare for oral cancer screening. The screening is usually performed during your routine dental visits.
There are different levels of oral cancer screening, and they are:
Visual examination is the most basic mode of oral cancer screening. Just as the name suggests, our dentist will visually check the various parts of your oral cavity, including:
- Your gums
- The roof of your mouth
- The back of your throat
- The inside of your cheeks
- Your lips, outside and inside
- Your tongue
If you wear dentures, our dentist will remove them to gain access to the area covered by the dentures to see if there are any signs of oral cancer.
Our dentist will also look for anything unusual about your saliva that covers the pink part of your oral cavity.
Besides performing a thorough visual examination, our dentist can also touch your cheeks, head, under the chin and tongue. Touching these areas will enable our dentist to check for unusual masses. Physical examination usually takes around five minutes.
Our dentist may also decide to perform additional tests if the physical and visual exams are not conclusive. Some of the additional tests that our dentist may perform are:
- Oral Cancer Screening Dye
Right before the visual exam, our dentist will give you a special blue dye that you will use to rinse your mouth. If there are any abnormal cells, the special blue dye will absorb the dye and appear blue.
- Oral Cancer Screening Light
Our dentist can also use a special light to check for abnormal cells. When the light hits the mouth, abnormal cells will appear white, whereas healthy cells will appear dark.
- Exfoliative Cytology
This test involves using a special brush to obtain cells from your tongue, cheeks, lips, and mouth for microscopic examination.
Our dentist may also order a biopsy. This is when an affected tissue needs further testing to ascertain whether there are cancerous cells. The main methods that can be used to do a biopsy include an incision biopsy, a nasendoscopy, a fine needle aspiration with cytology, and a panendoscopy.
The above methods will come up with a conclusive answer. What’s more, oral cancer screening shouldn’t make you uneasy because the procedure is performed as a precautionary measure.
Oral cancer screening will not be conducted during every dental visit, but you should schedule it at least once a year. You can contact us at Tailor-Made Smile to get more information.