Your dental professionals job is not to simply conduct a routine checkup, address cavities, and ensure you don’t have gum disease …they also have the task of screening for oral cancers when they conduct your oral examination during a checkup.
How Does A Dentist Detect Oral Cancer?
Firstly, your dentist will look in the most common areas where oral cancer is found, including: under and around the tongue, in the back of the throat, on the sides of the cheeks, the roof and floor of the mouth, and around the lips.
Secondly, an x-ray can also reveal cancer in the (jaw) bones of your mouth, whether during a routine x-ray, or a specifically requested or suggested one.
Lastly, your dentist might examine your neck for unusual swelling or hardening of the lymph nodes.
Although it is difficult to detect oral cancer on your own, the common appearance consists of red sores or white patches. They are painful, irregularly shaped, and often bleed easily. Unlike canker sores or cold sores, they do not heal over time. So if you notice these abnormalities in your mouth, be sure to ask your dentist about it upon your next visit, or book one immediately if your concern is high.
How Will I Know For Sure If It’s Cancer?
A regular checkup might be able to detect the possibility of cancer, but a biopsy is the only real way to uncovering if the concern is cancer for certain.
A biopsy can be conducted in most dental offices, where your dentist will take a tissue sample, and send it for a histological test for definitive testing.
Is There Preventative Measures For Oral Cancer?
The short answer is – no. However, there are ways to reduce the risk, such as not smoking, limiting your alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy diet. Alcohol in particular, thins the lining of your oral tissue, and if you smoke as well …the carcinogens can more readily get into your system this way, damaging the cells and increasing your chances for oral cancer.
Also, using sunscreen lip protector can help to prevent lip cancer.
Maintaining regular dental visits plays an important role in your overall wellness, so be sure to stay on schedule with your checkups, and ask your dental professional for an overall oral screening upon your nest visit.
At DentistsRUs, we would encourage you to visit any one of our dental professionals regarding your oral health concerns. They can help you alleviate these concerns, and help you maintain a healthy smile!