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Should I Get Screened for Oral Cancer?

Posted on 5/1/2024 by Mark Bieber
 female dental professional and female patient in dental chair talking and smilingMany people do not know this, but part of your checkups at our dental office involve oral cancer screenings, especially if you have a family history of oral cancer or you have used tobacco in the past. Here is some information you need to know about oral cancer screenings.

The Basic Oral Exam

Dentists check for anything in your mouth that looks out of the ordinary because there are a lot of medical conditions that show up in the mouth. For example, if you are constantly battling thrush, it could be an indication that you need to change one of your medications or that you have been taking antibiotics for an extended period.

Dentists are always on the lookout for any sores, lumps, bumps, or patches in your mouth. That is because oral cancer does not start out with a huge red flag to signal that there may be a problem. When oral cancer begins, it begins small, such as a small patch of discoloration on your tongue or lip or a bump underneath your tongue. Because the dentist sees your mouth every six months, they can immediately signal that you need a more thorough oral cancer screening than just an oral exam.

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer screenings are painless. Typically, our dentist will use a bright light to look more closely at an area in your mouth. There are lights that can cause cancer to appear bright white inside your mouth, which distinguishes it from healthy tissue. Also, dentists use an oral rinse to detect cancer. The rinse colors any troublesome areas dark blue, which makes them very easy to see.

What Should I Do?

If you have a history of tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, or a family history of oral cancer, you need to let our dentist know. That way, they can add oral cancer screenings to your dental exam if needed. The sooner we detect oral cancer, the faster we can get it treated, which leads to better outcomes. If you are worried about your oral cancer risk, why not contact our office today so we can schedule you for an appointment?

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-Shelley D.
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