How Does a Dentist Check for Oral Cancer?

How Does a Dentist Check for Oral Cancer?

November 1, 2022

Dentists are professionals you meet every six months to enable them to check for cavities and gum disease. However, your dentist is also your first line of defense against a severe condition of oral cancer.

If you aren’t aware, oral cancer includes lip, tongue, cheek, mouth floor, and hard and soft palate cancers. Men are twice likely as women to develop oral cancer, making it the sixth most common cancer among men.

Oral cancer becomes life-threatening when you don’t have it detected by undergoing oral cancer screening at six monthly intervals from your dentist during routine visits. Getting yourself screened by your dentist is the optimal way to detect oral cancer early when treatment delivers optimal outcomes.

If you wonder how a dentist can diagnose whether you have oral cancer, it helps to understand that dentists are professionals that you see most often. In addition, the professionals receive training to detect this devastating condition during their time in dental school. Therefore if you are stringent with your dental hygiene practices and visit your dentist diligently, you will notice the professional working on areas of your mouth and face unrelated to your teeth.

What Exactly Are Screenings for Oral Cancer?

Oral Cancer Screening in Harriston, ON, is essential for every dental checkup. You receive comprehensive screenings for oral cancer during your physical exam when starting the process.

The dentist initially updates your medical history and any changes that might have occurred since your last appointment. In addition, they will note whether you have a diagnosis of new conditions or take medications. Your medical history also includes your risks of oral cancer treatment, which might arise from smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. People smoking or consume alcohol excessively are at high risk of oral cancer.

Your dentist or hygienist will inquire into your current overall health and also dental concerns that you might have.

If informed about screening for oral cancer, you will likely wonder what to expect during oral cancer screening. However, we suggest you never realize the dentist screened you for this condition when you arrived at the practice to receive your six-monthly oral prophylaxis.

Expectations during Oral Cancer Screening

Your dental appointment includes an extra-oral dental exam and cleaning of your head and neck, besides an intra-oral exam of your lips, cheeks, palate, tongue, mouth floor, and gum tissues. Your dentist looks for lumps, irregular tissue changes, discoloration, or sores. If dentists notice suspicious lesions, they might recommend a biopsy by referring you to an oral surgeon.

Screenings for oral cancer are not scary and are completed by the dentist in under five minutes. The screening aims to ward off a devastating condition that might develop silently in your mouth and need treatments from different medical professionals instead of your dentist.

When you schedule six monthly appointments with your dentist, screenings for oral cancer are also included without making you realize the dentist is checking you for this condition. In addition, as the dentist completes the screening in under five minutes without charging you additional fees, helping you receive a complimentary service that helps prevent a severe mouth problem that has the potential to cause fatalities.

Expect the dentist in Harriston, ON, to look for red and white patches, ulcers, lumps and other abnormal growths in your mouth and inquire into challenges when chewing, swallowing, speaking and any pain or numbness and a change in the bite that require attention. Getting screened for oral cancer doesn’t mean you are a carrier of this infection. It is just a preventive measure to ensure you never have to deal with oral cancer and to help you lead a fruitful life without confronting unnecessary challenges.

If you confront any problems mentioned above, you must have yourself evaluated by your dentist without waiting for the symptoms to become painful. You must remember pain isn’t a predictable indicator and decide not to make up your mind because the abnormal growths you notice in the mouth aren’t causing discomfort. Instead, when you see your dentist, you mustn’t hesitate to share questions or dental problems concerning you. You must consider every matter significant and discuss it with your dentist because it might be essential as a life savior.

The dentists at Harriston Family Dentistry are fully trained to screen for oral cancer and refer you to a specialist if they detect any abnormal growths in your mouth. Therefore if you notice your dentist looking at areas of your facial cavity other than your teeth and gums, please do not express surprise because they are examining your mouth for oral cancer.