Most people understand the importance of having healthy gums, but some people do not know how to check to see if they have healthy gums.It is important to know what to look for when checking your gums or else you might miss an early warning sign. Failure to catch an early problem can have disastrous…
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is more common than most people think. About 50,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with it each year. Oral cancer can be fatal in its advanced stages and about one person dies from it every hour of the day, 24 hours a day.
As frightening as these statistics can be, oral cancer can be treated during its early stages. The best way to ensure oral cancer does not creep up on you is by visiting the dentist at least twice each year. That way, oral cancer and any other dental issue that is developing can be detected in its early stages when it can still be easily treated.
Patients can ask for an oral cancer screening during their checkups. It is one of those things dentists always keep an eye out for when examining a patient. The dentist checks out certain spots in the patient's mouth looking for irregular tissues and lumps. The entire process takes less than a minute.
Here are some the main things patients should expect during an oral cancer screening:
3 things to expect during an oral cancer screening
A conversation with the dentist
Patients should be ready to talk to their dentist about their medical history and their overall health. The dentist might ask about the person's oral care routine and their use of substances like tobacco or alcohol. The more the dentist knows about the patient's health, the easier it will be to provide an effective treatment plan. Patients should also use the opportunity to ask the dentist any questions they have about their oral health.
A complete exam
During an oral cancer exam, the dentist will examine the patient's mouth and feel for lumps and bumps that might be an indication of oral cancer. The dentist will also examine the patient's head, neck, oral cavity and cheeks looking for irregularities. The dentist might also use a screening device that uses dyes or different lights to detect cancer cells.
A follow-up conversation
After the examination, the dentist will discuss their findings with the patient. If something abnormal is detected, the dentist might refer the patient to a doctor for further testing and examination. The only way to properly diagnose oral cancer is with a biopsy. The dentist noticing some lumps or deformed tissues that may be cancerous does not mean the patient has oral cancer. A biopsy helps to make the proper diagnosis.
The bottom line
Oral cancer is one of those silent killers that can creep up on you before you notice it. Early detection is key when it comes to stopping this disease in its tracks. Screening for it is a painless process that does not take much time out of your day, but it can literally be the difference between life and death.
When was the last time you were screened for oral cancer? Schedule a screening with one of our dentists today.
Looking for oral cancer screening near the 80126 area? Call Twiss Dental at (720) 710-0629.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Oral Cancer Screening.
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