Oral Cancer Screening
When it comes to any cancer, your best bet is to find and treat the problem as early as possible. Oral cancer is no different. Van Alstine Family Dentistry wants you healthy and at your best self for now and for the long term. We provide oral cancer screenings at each and every one of your regularly scheduled six-month check-ups. While we can do them more frequently than that just in case, we do not recommend you go longer than six months between each visit.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Any cancer is the growing of malignant cells in your body, attacking the tissues around it and causing potentially fatal results. Oral cancer is specifically this happening in your oral cavity or throat. This kind of cancer can affect your tongue, gums, cheeks, lips, palate, or the floor of your mouth. It can also attack your jaw bone and sinus cavity. The earlier that we can detect signs of cancer, the sooner you can get started on a treatment plan that can increase your odds of remission.
What Happens During A Screening?
One of the biggest questions we get about oral cancer screenings simply pertains to how they work. Will it hurt? Do I need anesthesia? Is it expensive? These questions are understandable. Many of our patients simply come in to get their check-up, let us do our thing, and they are on their way. They don’t know the extensive examination they undergo. Firstly, no, an oral cancer screening will not hurt you. No anesthesia is required, and there is no extra charge for the test. After you are finished with your cleaning and examination, we will then proceed with the test. We will conduct a visual screening first. This means that we examine all areas of your mouth, from each tooth to all of the available soft tissue. We will likely use a light that will help bring any problematic areas to contrast with the rest of your mouth.
We are looking for lesions, sores that do not heal, and abnormal colored patches (usually red or white). We are also looking for strange lumps or mouth wounds. We may use a special blue dye that will be absorbed by bad tissues only. From there, we will begin the segment with palpitation. We will touch certain key areas and check for lumps or abnormalities that we would not otherwise be able to see. If we find something suspicious, we may have to perform a biopsy to make sure that the cells are not cancerous. If they are, we will work in conjunction with you and an oncologist to formulate a treatment plan.
Val Alstine Family Dentistry is here to help you retain your health throughout the coming years. Be sure to give us a call today to set up your six-month check-up and screening, or just a screening if you know that you are particularly at-risk (which can be a hereditary problem). We would be more than happy to help.