Oral cancer screening refers to an annual examination performed by your dentist in Sterling Heights, MI. This screening is used to identify signs of cancerous or precancerous conditions inside your mouth. The purpose of performing this examination is to catch oral cancer early when the odds of a complete cure are highest. At Dental One Care, we routinely perform oral cancer screenings during our patients’ routine visits. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about oral cancer screening.
Why Oral Cancer Screening Is Done
As already mentioned, Dr. Fardi Farhat, an orthodontist in Sterling Heights MI, conducts oral cancer screening to detect oral cancer or lesions that point to the possibility of oral cancer.
These screenings are particularly vital for people who are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. The risk factors include;
- Users of tobacco (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, cigars, and pipes)
- Heavy alcohol drinkers
- A history of oral cancer
- A history of intense sun exposure (this heightens the risk for lip cancer)
When you visit Dental One Care, ask Dr. Fardi Farhat if you are at risk of developing oral cancer. The dentist in Sterling Heights MI will ask you several questions to ascertain your risk level. If you are found to be at risk, then oral cancer screening may become part of the routine assessments that you undergo at your dental check-up.
Limitations of Oral Cancer Screening
- Additional Tests May Be Required
Many people may have sores in their mouths. Dentists in Sterling Heights explain that oral exams may not be sufficient to identify the cancerous or noncancerous sores. Additional tests may be required before a definitive oral cancer diagnosis can be made.
- Not All Oral Cancers Are Detectable During Oral Exams
Cancers are abnormal cell growth patterns, and it is unlikely that an oral exam will unearth all the abnormal areas in your mouth. This means that the dentist could miss a cancerous lesion during your oral cancer screening exercise.
- The Scientific Community is Still Divided
There is no research yet to confirm that screening for oral cancer can reduce the number of deaths from this condition. However, since the chances of a cure are highest when cancer is detected early, it is wise for you to undergo this screening just in case you are at risk of developing mouth cancer.
What to Expect During Your Oral Cancer Screening
Dr. Fardi Farhat says you aren’t required to prepare anything before the oral cancer screening. The screening fits nicely into the other routine dental care that you receive.
During the oral cancer exam, Dr. Fardi Farhat will look into your mouth carefully. The dentist in Sterling Heights MI does this to detect if there are any visible white or red patches or sores inside your mouth.
If you have removable dentures, our team will ask you to remove them so that the area beneath the dentures can also be examined for sores and patches.
Additional Oral Cancer Screening Tests
Dr. Fardi Farhat may use any of the additional tests below during your oral cancer screening.
Use of a blue dye. You may be asked to rinse your mouth with a blue dye. This special dye is absorbed by any abnormal cells in your mouth, making them turn blue. When the expert at Dental One Care looks into your mouth, he will immediately spot those blue areas.
Use of a light. Alternatively, the dentist may choose to shine a light into your mouth during the oral exam. The abnormal (and potentially cancerous) cells will look white while your normal cells will look dark under this light.
If Dr. Fardi Farhat finds any precancerous lesions or other signs of oral cancer, he may recommend a follow-up visit to Dental One Care to monitor your mouth. Additionally, the Sterling Heights dentist may recommend a biopsy so additional tests can confirm or rule out oral cancer. Fortunately, most lesions turn out to be noncancerous, so don’t be worried if abnormal cells are observed in your mouth. Simply do everything that Dr. Farhat asks you to do. If you still have questions about oral cancer screening, contact us at Dental One Care.