The screening for oral cancer is performed by a dentist to identify mouth cancer early when there is a greater chance for a cure. Many dentists perform this screening as a part of their service in a routine dental examination.
The doctors and the team of oral healthcare professionals at Lynn Alan Palmer, DDS, located near you in Houston, want to educate their patients, current and new, on the benefits of routine screenings for oral cancer.
The screening includes a visual and physical examination of the oral cavity and of the oropharyngeal areas located behind the oral cavity, like the soft palate, the tonsils and the walls of the throat. The face, neck and the inside of the nose are also examined during the screening.
The patient must take out all removable dental appliances to expose all areas for this examination. The dentist will look for asymmetries, swellings, bumps, ulcerations and varying patches of color.
The tools include a light, a mirror and a tongue depressor, and this part of the visual exam is much like a typical physical. Your dentist will also use other tools to aid in the visual examination of the gums, the inner cheeks and underneath the tongue.
The dentist will touch the cheeks, head, the jawline, under the chin and inside the oral cavity to detect unusual masses. Pressure applied to these nodules could be uncomfortable, and sometimes painful. However, painless swellings could be a sign of abnormalities elsewhere.
In addition to the tools used in the typical physical and visual exams, there are other tools and equipment to aid in the identification of abnormalities. These instruments may include the:
A screening for oral cancer is not diagnostic; it is precautionary. For patients who smoke, use other tobacco products or ingest alcohol heavily may be asked to return for screenings at shorter intervals than regular dental check-ups. These additional screenings may be recommended even without any visible symptoms from a prior exam.
Sometimes, results that require further testings are not cancer related, but they are abnormal and may need treatment. Early detection and treatment will reduce future health-related conditions.
If you would like a consultation regarding oral cancer screenings, then please contact the oral healthcare professionals at Lynn Alan Palmer, DDS, located in Houston, where new patients are always welcome.
Lynn Alan Palmer, DDS is trusted and highly recommended for oral cancer screenings, as well as other treatments and procedures in general, restorative and cosmetic dentistry.