The primary goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer before it becomes serious so that it’s easier to treat. In this article, we discuss the necessity of oral cancer prevention screening, how to detect oral cancer, and how to prevent oral cancer.
Need for Oral Cancer Prevention Screening
The primary goal of oral cancer prevention screening is to either detect signs or oral cancer or detect precancerous conditions so you can treat oral cancer early or prevent it altogether. It’s important to detect signs of oral cancer early because that’s when cancerous lesions are easiest to remove.
Oral cancer screening is most beneficial for people who have a higher risk of oral cancer than most. As such, you should consider oral cancer screening if you identify with the following risk factors:
- If you consume tobacco in the form of cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, or any other form of tobacco.
- If you’re a heavy alcohol consumer.
- If you’re significantly exposed to the sun on a regular basis.
- If you’ve had an oral cancer diagnosis previously.
Oral Cancer Symptoms: How to Detect Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can occur on any part of your mouth, including the gums, tongue, cheeks, and roof or floor of the mouth. The following are some oral cancer symptoms that you have to be vigilant about:
- Lip or mouth sores that either don’t heal or return frequently.
- White or red patches inside your mouth.
- Loosening teeth.
- Formation of a lump inside your mouth.
- Mouth or ear pains.
- Inability or difficulty in swallowing.
How to Check for Oral Cancer?
The following are some of the different types of oral cancer screening methods available.
During a visual examination for oral cancer, the dentist will likely examine your face, nose, oral cavity, neck, and lips. If you’re wearing any dental appliances, the dentist will have to take them off before the screening. The doctor will visually inspect you for abnormalities in the form of bumps, red or white patches, ulcers, swellings, etc. The doctor may use a tongue depressor to hold your tongue down while they use a mirror or light to look deep within your oral cavities. The doctor may also use other sets of tools to examine other parts of your mouth such as the throat, tongue, tonsils, etc.
In addition to the visual exam, the doctor will also use physical touch to look for abnormalities. They may touch various parts of your jaws, cheeks, head, and oral cavities to look for bumps and nodules. The doctor will also ask you about immobility in parts of the body that should be mobile — they may touch that part and ask you if you feel any discomfort. Symptoms of oral cancer are usually painful, but they may also be painless in some cases. You may also be asked to swallow and convey how that makes you feel.
Finally, some dentists also use additional screening tests to detect oral cancer. These tests include the following:
- Shining a special light inside your mouth — this light makes regular tissues appear dark but it makes abnormal tissues appear white.
- You may also be asked to rinse your mouth with a special blue dye that remains on abnormal tissues, making them more visible during inspection.
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I’ve been going to the West Orem Dental for over a decade and have never been disappointed. The staff is amazing, they make you feel right at home. This is the most efficient place I’ve ever been to. Thank you West Orem Dental Center for always taking care of my teeth. They even make a Dental extraction pleasant and easy.
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The people are caring and do a good job to educate you about the importance of good dental health. I recommend them to take care of all your dental needs. Thank You West Orem Dental
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I have seen Dr Grant several times. I had a wisdom tooth pulled. It wasn’t an easy process, tooth just had broken the gums and had been this way for years. Dr Grant did a wonderful job, I had no pain during the procedure or afterwards, only soreness. I’m now having a root canal done and have also been well taken of….no pain. He informs you of what he will be doing. He and all his staff are very friendly. It is so comforting to walk in the door and be greeted by smiling faces from the ladies at the front desk. I feel important as a patient, well taken care of and recommend Dr Grant to anyone who is in need of a great dentist.
I have been coming to West Orem for over 20 years. The service is remarkable and the staff is wonderful. Dr Grant is the best and he is very sensitive to your needs. The staff goes over and beyond to help you and make you feel like you are the only patient in the world. Thank you West Orem Dental for caring enough to give me the best of your service.
How to Prevent Oral Cancer?
There are no sure shot means of preventing oral cancer. However, you can take several measures to drastically reduce your risk of oral cancer. The following measures can help you prevent oral cancer.
- Say NO to Tobacco: Don’t consume tobacco in any form, either chewable or smoking. This is the leading risk factor for oral cancer because it exposes the cells in your mouth to chemicals that can cause cancer.
- Controlled Alcohol Use: If you must drink alcohol, do so at an extremely measured and controlled limit. That means people under the age of 65 can usually take two drinks a day and those over the age of 65 should only consume one drink a day. Excessive alcohol consumption can affect your mouth cells and lead to mouth cancer.
- Prevent Excessive Sunlight: Stay in the shade as much as possible to prevent your lips from getting exposed to the sun. If you must go out in the sun, put on sunscreen for your lips and wear broad hats that can shade your mouth.
- Regular Dental Check-ups: Go for regular dental check-ups and ask your dentist specifically to look for abnormalities in your mouth. If there are any signs or cancer, they’ll be able to detect them early.
Can an Orthodontist Test for Oral Cancer?
Most dentists, including orthodontists, can test your mouth for oral cancer. All types of dentists are trained in oral cancer screening and many of them even provide it as a complimentary service. So the next time you go to a dental clinic, you can ask your dentist for a standard checkup.
Best Clinic for Oral Cancer Screening
At West Orem Dental, we have highly trained dentists of various specializations who can run extensive oral cancer screening to detect any cancerous or abnormal lesions before they become serious. Even if you don’t have oral cancer, a screening test can at least give you some much-needed peace of mind. For more information on oral cancer screening, please schedule an appointment with the best clinic for oral cancer screening today.