Mouth Cancer Screening at the Dentist
No doubt about it – “Cancer” is a scary term, and its manifestation in any form can be detrimental or even fatal to your health! This includes mouth cancer, also called oral cancer. As the country marks “Mouth Cancer Awareness Month”, you should know that certain lifestyle and genetic factors may make you more susceptible to it.
These may include:
- Regular tobacco usage
- Regular alcohol usage – yes, especially for women
- Unprotected exposure to sun, as this leaves you vulnerable to lip cancer
- Genetic history with this disease
- Gender, as men are statistically known to be more vulnerable as women
Fortunately, you can ask your dentist to screen you for this dreaded disease well before it turns actually life threatening. Read on to discover how your dentist can screen you for cancer.
A visual exam
Have you observed how your dentist gently nudges your face/ chin in various directions, during the first few minutes of every visit? This may seem annoying or even funny, but what they are doing in reality, is visually checking your mouth for potentially cancerous lumps and bumps. They may even use visual aids like a torchlight, mirror, tongue depressor, etc. to look more deeply into your mouth.
If you wish to voluntarily trigger such an exam, do remove all dental aids from your mouth before you ask for a check up. This includes braces, dentures, jewelry, etc. as they can interfere in the visual inspection.
A physical exam
This is similar to the visual exam, but with additional tactile inspections. For instance, the dentist may ask you to open your mouth, put your tongue out and take a deep breath, as they continue feeling around your chin/ mouth for cancerous lumps.
In the early stages, this should also be relatively painless. Conversely, if you feel pain during such an exam, do alert your dentist, as this could point to a troublesome spot in your mouth.
A formal screening device
With technological advancements in modern dentistry, screening tools are now available to help your dentist check more thoroughly for cancer-related signs and symptoms. Your dentist may go through your genetic history, medical history and lifestyle habits with you, so they know which areas of your mouth are potentially prone to disease.
Do note, screenings are not equivalent to diagnosis, but can alert you to the potential of risk.
In closing, oral cancer is a real threat to modern society. Do make sure you protect yourself from lip cancer, by using an ADA approved lip balm when you’re out in the sun. Also, with current lifestyles, cancer-screenings are recommended at least twice a year. Do these along with your routine dentist visit. Be candid about your lifestyle choices – like indulgence of tobacco or alcohol. This information is crucial to helping your dentist spot a potential Cancer problem, well before it turns dangerous.
Schedule your dental exam and oral cancer screening with our dentist today
Our highly knowledgeable dentist near Roswell, Georgia is experienced in screening your mouth for any form of oral cancer. Book an online appointment today to ensure you are protected from oral problems. Also increase your chances of early detection of mouth cancer.