When Should You Get Screened for Oral Cancer?

When Should You Get Screened for Oral Cancer?

May 1, 2022

Oral cancer screening is a dental examination performed by a dentist to check for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. Its goal is to identify a mouth cancer earlier to be cured.

Most dentists can examine your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for mouth cancer. Some may additional tests to aid in identifying areas with abnormal cells in your mouth.

There are medical organizations that disagree on whether healthy people without the risk factors for mouth cancer have to undergo oral screening. There is no single oral cancer screening test or oral exam that has been proven to reduce the chances of dying from oral cancer. Still, you and your dentist may decide if the oral exam for the particular test is proper for you based on the risk factors.

Why is Oral Screening Done?

Oral cancer screening is important in helping to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may cause mouth cancer at a very early stage. This is when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and can be cured.

However, no studies have proved that oral cancer screening saves lives, so not all organizations agree on the benefits of an oral exam for oral screening. Some may recommend screening, while others say there is not enough research to recommend it to a patient.

People with a high risk of mouth cancer can benefit from this screening. Factors that may increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Tobacco use
  • A history of a lot of sun exposure increases the risk of lip cancer.
  • A previous oral cancer diagnosis.

The number of people diagnosed with throat and mouth cancer has been rising over the last few years, though the reason is not apparent. A number of these cancers are associated with a sexually transmitted infection, the human papillomavirus.

If you are concerned about your oral cancer risk, talk to your dentist in Chaska about ways to reduce the risk and the screening test that may be appropriate for you.

Aspects of Mouth Cancer Screenings

There are two important aspects of mouth cancer screening, and they include:

  • Visual Exam

Your dentist will ask you to remove dentures or any removable dental appliances that you may have before your screening. This will help them examine your entire mouth. Your dentist will be checking for swellings, bumps, asymmetries, ulcerations, patches of color, or other abnormalities. Thye will also observe your cheeks, lips, neck, jaws, face, the inside of your oral cavity, and nose.

The dentist uses a mirror and a light to look inside your mouth. They will also use a depressor to hold your tongue down and check the back of your mouth, much more than your average physical. Your dentist will also ask you to stick out your tongue and say ahh’ to expose areas around your throat that are difficult to see.

  • Physical Exam

Your dentist will also perform a physical exam, apart from a visual exam. Your dentist will touch your mouth, face, and neck to feel unusual masses and nodules. Touch is essential for them to find any cancer_causing abnormalities in your mouth.

A tactile inspection helps your dentist to find any hard lumps of tissue. While the oral symptoms can sometimes be painful, it is usually painless in their initial stages. It is even more critical for your dentist to screen for mouth cancer more regularly.

How Often Should One Have An Oral Cancer Screening?

A general rule is that one should be checked for mouth cancer by a dental professional at least once a year. However, since not everyone is the same, they are advised to ask their dentist how often they should go for oral cancer screenings in Chaska as some may need to go more often.

Where Can You Get Oral Cancer Screenings Near You?

If you want an oral cancer screening, visit Town Dental. We have a professional dentist who will guide you through the whole process. Come with questions and seek advice from our dentist. We are open Monday to Thursday. Book an appointment through our online website to interact with our staff.

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