What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
In order to better take care of your oral health, you need to visit your dentist at least twice a year.
Apart from professionally cleaning your teeth and providing you with excellent advice, your dentist can check your mouth and look for potential problems.
One crucial aspect of a dental exam is an oral cancer screening where your dentist will check your mouth, face, neck and lips for signs of cancer. If you regularly visit your dentist, he or she will be in the best position to notice any irregularities or potential issues. Think of your dentist as your first line of defense against oral cancer.
What should you expect during this procedure?
According to the American Dental Association, each dental checkup can include screening for cancer. The procedure only takes a few minutes. It is painless and does not require the use of specialist tools.
If you are wearing dentures, your Sterling Heights dentist will ask you to remove these. The reason behind this is because your dentist will need to see your mouth in full.
While you are undergoing the screening process, your dentist will ask you a few questions which will aid him or her in determining whether you have oral cancer or not. Expect to answer questions related to difficulties in swallowing, hoarseness, the presence of lumps on the side of the neck, difficulties in speaking or moving the tongue, and earaches.
The actual procedure begins with your dentist checking your jaws and neck, looking for lumps. Your dentist will then proceed to check your lips and cheeks. Then, your dentist will check your tongue, the roof and floor of your mouth, and the back of your throat. Finally, your dentist will use his or her finger to check for abnormalities on the floor of your mouth.
Who Can Get Oral Cancer?
Contrary to the belief of some people, everyone can get oral cancer. Indeed, some groups like smokers and the elderly are at a higher risk of contracting oral cancer. In recent years, younger people have been getting oral cancer due to HPV infection. In the United States alone, about 43,000 new cases of oral cancer are reported each year.
It is for these reasons that you should ask your Sterling Heights dentist for a screening each time you visit the dental office. Prompt detection can save your life. Plus, the procedure is painless and takes just a few minutes of your time.