Importance of Oral Cancer Screening
Do you ever worry that a pain or abnormality in your mouth should get looked at by a dentist? You should be aware of the importance of oral cancer screening. This is what you need to know.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screening | What Is Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can occur in most areas of the mouth, such as the teeth, the gums, the tongue, the lips, the cheeks, and the maxillary arch (the roof of the mouth). Though any individual can develop this type of cancer, it has a higher incidence in individuals who engage in regular practices that are damaging to oral health. Chewing tobacco, smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, inadequate nutrition and malnourishment, and the use of improperly fitting dentures (which can cause persistent irritation) can all spur the development of oncogenes, or cancer cells. Infection from the human papillomavirus (HPV) can also contribute to various cancers, including oral cancer. The early signs of oral cancer are often difficult to detect by the average person, but a closer inspection from a dentist can determine whether oral cancer has begun to take root.
Importance of Oral Cancer Screening | How It’s Done
Oral cancer screenings from your dentist are rather quick to perform, as dentists are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of the earliest stages of disease. The entire process should last no more than five minutes, and your dentist will rely only on simple equipment such as gauze, gloves, and mirrors to complete the exam. The first step involves your dentist asking you about your medical history as well as any symptoms that you may have begun to experience. A family history of certain cancers or lifestyle choices can suggest to your dentist that you are at a naturally higher risk of developing this disease. Your dentist will then peer into your mouth and esophagus, using tools to inspect the gum line, the rear portions of your lips, the insides of your cheeks, the underside of your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your tonsils. Your dentist may also survey the area around the root of your tongue and manually examine your neck and jaw for nodules or other worrisome indications of cancer.
If you are interested in getting an oral cancer screening, please call our experienced Buffalo dentists today for a free consultation.