Oral Cancer Screening
As a part of good oral health care, our team at Medhat Dental Excellence highly recommends regular oral cancer screenings. Just as with other types of cancer, the chances of recovery increase the earlier the condition is detected. This screening is particularly important for those whose lifestyle or physical condition puts them at particular risk of developing oral cancer.
The Screening Procedure
The procedure is a painless one and mostly involves a visual check coupled with finger probing of some areas to check for lumps or indicators of pain. It is typically done during twice-annual dental checkups and in most cases, takes less than five minutes to be completed. If there are some symptoms of concern, our dentist may recommend more frequent checks. Before the actual checkup, our dentist will ask questions as to your general state of health and if there have been any changes or worrying symptoms.
After this review, we will inspect your oral cavity. You will be required to remove any removable dental appliances like dentures to better access the areas beneath. A visual check of areas such as the teeth, gums, inner cheeks, tongue, roof and floor of the mouth will be performed. We will also check on the back of the mouth, throat, and tonsils using a light and small mirror. Our dentist will then palpate the jaw and neck area to check for any abnormalities.
Besides the aforementioned lumps, our team will be on the lookout for prolonged sores, red and white patches on soft tissue, any pain or numbness, or thickening. We will also want to find out if you are having any difficulty with chewing, swallowing, or speaking. Our dentist will also check on occlusion to confirm if there has been any shift in the arrangement of your teeth that has altered your bite.
If there are some symptoms of concern, our dentist will likely recommend another appointment to review if the symptoms are still present or have dissipated. If they persist, we may likely recommend further diagnostic measures such as scans or biopsies to seek confirmation.
Risk Factors for Oral Cancer
Cancers tend to affect certain segments of the population more than others. It is important to ascertain if you are at greater risk of suffering oral cancer so you can receive these regular checks that enhance the survivability of sufferers through early detection. Those that are at the highest level of risk include smokers and alcoholics. Men are also twice as likely as women to develop the condition.
Chewing betel nut also carries significant risk, with the WHO having identified it as a possible carcinogen. People with the human papillomavirus (HPV) are also highly likely to suffer some forms of throat and neck cancers. These cancers often occur around the tonsils and at the base of the tongue. Those that have suffered significant exposure to sunlight are also at risk of suffering lip cancer. People who have suffered oral cancer before are also at high risk of suffering a recurrence and should be regularly screened.
If you are concerned about being at risk of developing this cancer, it is important to discuss the issue with our professionals. Contact us, Medhat Dental Excellence at (773) 774-4611, to make an appointment and meet with one of our qualified dentists.