Here's Why Your Routine Oral Cancer Screening Matters

Here's Why Your Routine Oral Cancer Screening Matters

May 01, 2022

Regular dental assessments and cleanings are essential to keep your mouth clean, healthy, and disease-free. Your dentist can also perform an oral cancer screening as part of your dental exam. Oral cancer has become a serious concern to millions. Like any other cancer, it causes severe side effects and can even be life-threatening if not caught on time. That’s why Raynham Dental Group offers oral cancer screening in Raynham, MA.

An oral cancer screening is a diagnostic exam used to check for early signs of oral cancer when treatment is easy and likely to be more effective. In the early stages, oral cancer begins with minor signs such as a pimple, which may not be alarming to many people. Common signs of oral cancer include:

  • Lumps
  • Change in the color or texture of the mouth tissue
  • Unexplainable oral bleeding
  • Numbness in the mouth
  • Sores or patches in the mouth that do not heal
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • White or red patches on the mouth, lips, or tongue
  • Changes in taste or tongue sensation
  • Bad breath

Do You Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

If you’re wondering whether you should have an oral cancer screening, you should, at least once a year. The screening is important even if you don’t have any symptoms of oral cancer.

If you’re at a higher risk of oral cancer, getting regular oral cancer screening is highly advisable. Such include:

  • Previous cancer diagnosis – If you’ve previously been diagnosed with oral cancer, rebound chances are very high.
  • Smoking – Tobacco products are bad for your lungs and increase your risk of getting oral cancer.
  • Family history – In some cases, cancer is hereditary. If any family member is diagnosed with oral cancer, there is a high risk of getting it.
  • Heavy alcohol consumption – Heavy drinkers are at a higher risk of oral cancer than those who don’t.
  • STI patients – Certain sexually transmitted infections such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV), link to an increased risk of oral and other cancers.

What to Expect During Oral Cancer Screening

Generally, comprehensive oral cancer screenings are straightforward and pain-free. The significant parts include a visual exam of your neck, throat, lips, face, cheeks, nose, tongue, gums, palate, and mouth. If you have dental appliances such as braces and dentures, you must have them removed to expose all areas of your mouth. For better clarity, your dentist can use a light, tongue-depressor, mirror, or Nano camera.

After the visual exam, the dentist will perform a physical exam where they touch different parts such as the cheeks, under the chin, head, and around the jaw to check for pain or unusual growth formation or lesions.

If the dentist notices any abnormalities or the exam isn’t clear enough to conclude, they might perform additional tests. Such tests may involve rinsing the oral cavity with a special blue dye. If there are abnormal cells, they will absorb the dye and turn blue. The dentist can also put a light in your mouth. The light makes healthy tissue appear dark while abnormal tissue appears white.

Oral Cancer Screening Importance

The key importance of cancer screening is to check for early signs of oral cancer. Early detection of most cancers, including oral cancer, is a lifesaver. Routine screening increases your chances of early detection when treatment will be more effective with fewer complications.

Similarly, early detection of oral cancer is beneficial for your resources. Treating cancer at its late stages involves complex, more invasive, and costly procedures that will likely affect your time and finances.

Additionally, regular cancer screening can give you peace of mind. Especially if you’re at a higher risk of developing oral cancer, you may be constantly worried about what is going on with your health. Keeping up with routine screenings eliminates unnecessary stress and worries.

Lastly, during an oral cancer exam, your dentist is likely to notice other oral issues such as gum disease and dental damages such as chips, cracks, cavities, or decay. Early detection and treatment of these issues are also essential to maintain excellent oral and overall well-being.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you looking for oral cancer screenings in Raynham, MA? Contact Raynham Dental Group, the Office of Dr. Michael Scanlon, for more information.

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