Oral Cancer Screenings for Healthy People: Are They Necessary?

Oral Cancer Screenings for Healthy People: Are They Necessary?

Jul 01, 2021

Whether you are in optimal physical health or not, regular dental exams are essential because they help more than just your smile. In addition, they are an excellent opportunity for the dentist to check for signs of oral cancer.

The ADA recommends everyone schedule an appointment with their dentist at least once in 12 months to ensure their mouths are healthy. However, many medical professionals disagree on how often people should get oral cancer screenings. Some believe that if you are at a higher risk of getting oral cancer, it is an excellent idea to get examined for the condition.

Some factors making you vulnerable to getting oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco use, including smoking, chewing tobacco, or using snuff.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol regularly.
  • An earlier diagnosis of oral cancer.
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight making you vulnerable to getting lip cancer.
  • Some types of HPV which you can develop during oral intercourse.
  • Chewing a smokeless tobacco mixture called betel quid.

If you are frequently indulging in any of the above, you can inquire with the dentist in sunset hills mo, whether you need a screening test.

Why Fear Oral Cancer Screenings?

If you are frequently visiting the general dentist in Sunset Hills, MO, you will likely receive an oral cancer screening during the exam for dental examinations and cleanings. You probably don’t even realize your dentist is looking for signs of oral cancer unless they provide specific information about the test.

Oral cancer screenings in Sunset Hill, MO, do not impose upon you any additional charges and perform the test as a preventive measure to ensure you are not affected by any concerning conditions. Therefore you must view oral cancer screenings as a beneficial measure confirming your mouth is entirely healthy. In reality, you must thank the dentist for performing the exam as it leaves you with peace of mind knowing you are free from oral cancer.

What Kind of Exams Are Performed by Dentists?

Oral cancer screenings near you perform a basic exam by taking a comprehensive view at all parts of your mouth. During the examination, the dentist will:

  • First, look at your lips from outside and inside.
  • Examine the insides of your cheeks, the roof of your mouth, and the back of your throat.
  • Your gums are also examined besides your tongue from all sides and beneath.

If you are a denture wearer, you must take them out to allow the dentist to check the tissue beneath. For example, dentists may insert a finger in your mouth and under your tongue besides a couple of fingers on the skin under your chin, moving them around to feel the tissue between them. Your dentist might also examine underneath your jaw.

The entire exam requires merely five minutes, confirming it is just a preventive measure.

Dentists aim to look for spots or lumps and try to verify whether anything is unusual about the saliva covering the pink parts of your mouth. If you observe any unusual bumps or sites, it helps if you call your dentist for an examination.

An in-depth examination for your oral cancer screening will have the dentist rinse your mouth with a blue dye before the exam. Any abnormal cells in your mouth absorb the pigment making it easier for the dentist to identify them.

What If the Dentist Detects Signs of Cancer?

If the dentist detects any unusual signs, they advise you to schedule an appointment in a few weeks to verify whether anything has changed. Dentists may also suggest a biopsy when a small piece of tissue is taken from the area that looks suspicious and have it examined in a lab to check for cancer. The dentist performs the biopsy, or you receive a referral to a surgeon who performs these procedures.

Bear in mind that not all lumps or spots your dentist detects are cancer. However, if oral cancer is present in your mouth, catching the condition early ensures you have many treatment options. Therefore it makes sense to maintain your regular appointments with the dentist to enable them to look for signs of problems in your mouth.

Even if you are in the pink of health, you visit dentists for exams and cleanings. At the same time, the dentist performs oral cancer screening in merely five minutes without you even realizing what is happening. If you don’t consider oral cancer screenings necessary, it is time you changed your thinking to go through the procedure without concerns happily.

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