Oral cancer screenings with Atlantic Dentistry include both a physical and visual examination of your mouth and connected tissues. These screenings can provide reassurance to patients that there are no signs of concern. They can also serve to trigger early intervention and treatment if there are some concerning signs. The National Cancer Institute recommends that screenings for cancer should take place if there are lifestyle considerations, such as smoking or a family history. Patients may also request a thorough screening as a precautionary measure.
The Physical Exam
Our dentist will need to examine areas beyond just the mouth as a part of the screening for oral cancer. This includes your cheeks, under your jaw and chin, and around your neck. The inside of your mouth will also be physically examined.
A potential sign to be aware of is if there have been any changes, or whether there is any discomfort experienced. The symptoms of oral cancer can be quite painful. But it is important to bear in mind that painless swelling can also be indicative of a problem.
The Visual Examination
Examining the oral cavity is just one part of the oral cancer screening. The neck, face, interior of the nose and the lips are also a part of the screening. Our dentist will look for any signs of asymmetry, unusual bumps, inflammation, signs of ulcers, or patches of color. The roof of the mouth, gums, inside of the cheeks, throat, tonsils, and tongue all need to be thoroughly examined.
Follow Ups to Oral Cancer Screenings
It is important to note that the oral cancer screening is a precautionary examination. It is not diagnostic. If our dentist finds nothing to be abnormal, the recommendation may just be to return for further screenings at regular intervals, particularly if the patient is a tobacco user.
If there are symptoms that are of potential concern, our dentist may recommend further testing. Keep in mind that any results recommended for further testing do not necessarily point to a diagnosis of cancer. In the event that our dentist finds cancer, the early discovery of oral cancer can offer a number of benefits, including an excellent prognosis for recovery.
Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Risks
Oral cancer does not discriminate against those it afflicts. However, those who use tobacco products are at a much higher risk than those who do not. Chewing tobacco alone can expose you to several thousand chemicals, including the very same compounds that are found in pesticides. There are a number of smoking cessation products that can make the process of quitting just that much more manageable.
An oral cancer screening is not just another dental examination. It is an opportunity to discuss your concerns with your dentist, and seek out advice to help decrease your risks.
Remember that cellular changes are not always visible and detectable until they have advanced to a serious stage. The early detection of oral cancer can boost your chances for a complete recovery, with early intervention and treatment.
Schedule your oral cancer screening at Atlantic Dentistry to make an appointment that fits your schedule.