One of the most important parts of proper oral health care is getting the screenings you need to make sure that your teeth, tongue, and mouth are in good shape. This includes screening for oral cancer. This can sound like a scary procedure, but it is important to check for the potential for oral cancer before it develops into a situation that results in damage to the mouth and requires much more extensive treatment.
Because studies on risk factors for oral cancer are inconclusive, it is recommended that even healthy people with low risk of developing oral cancer still have screenings done to detect cancerous or precancerous cells in the mouth.
Most oral cancer screenings are done as part of routine checkups, and fortunately, they do not require any additional preparation on the part of the patient.
The screening begins with a visual examination of the mouth to check for potentially cancerous tissue. The Brantford dentist will be checking for red or white patches in the mouth as well as mouth sores that have formed.
After the visual inspection, the dentist will typically perform a hand inspection of the mouth while wearing gloves. This is done to check for lumps and abrasions that aren’t evident by a visual inspection. The dentist may then proceed to check the throat and neck area for lumps or signs of irregularity. The overall procedure is quick and painless.
If there are any areas of concern, your dentist may order additional follow-up tests to confirm whether any suspected tissue is indeed cancerous. These can include a special dye test that causes unhealthy tissue to appear a certain colour or a follow-up visit where a biopsy can be performed and sent off for further testing.
Results are usually delivered within a few weeks, and if there are signs of cancer, a referral is usually given to see an oral cancer specialist for further test and treatment options.
Making oral cancer screenings a part of your regular oral health routine is the best way to prevent a treatable issue from becoming something much more catastrophic.