Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer is an examination performed at JP Dental & Implant Center to look for symptoms of cancer or precancerous conditions. This screening can help identify cancer in its earliest stage so that it is easier to treat. This can be quite useful as by the time symptoms appear, oral cancer may already have begun to spread.
It is also important to understand that though you may be recommended an oral screening test, it does not necessarily mean you have oral cancer or will develop oral cancer. If the screening test is not conclusive or if it shows some anomalies in your find, you may need to get other diagnostic tests done to find out if you have cancer.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening Test
An oral cancer screening test does not require any special sort of preparation. An oral cancer screening may be a typical part of a comprehensive oral examination at JP Dental & Implant Center. This test should typically be done before signs of oral cancer begin to show.
Typically, an oral cancer screening consists of two parts:
Visual ExamThe first part of an oral cancer screening involves the visual exam of the mouth, face, neck, inside of the nose, and the back of the throat. Before the screening starts, you need to remove all removable dental prosthetics or appliances from your mouth.
You will be asked to either sit upright or lie down on the dental chair. Dr. John P. Poovey or Dr. Wilcox will look for any discoloration, asymmetries, lesions, sores, bleeding, ulcers, or strange patches inside the various areas of your mouth, including the inside of your lips and cheeks, under your tongue, the palate, and the back of the throat. You may be asked to open your mouth wide and say “Aaah” to expose areas that are not easy to see. Some special lights and tools can also help us in inspecting your mouth.
Physical ExamDuring or after the visual exams, we may also touch areas on your head, mouth, face, jaw, and chin to check for abnormal masses and bumps. Another sign of potential oral cancer are previously mobile and soft tissues that have gone rigid and may be causing discomfort. The symptoms of oral cancer can be quite painful, though some growths may initially be painless.
Additional TestsIf we notice something unusual or abnormal in your mouth, it may not necessarily be a sign of oral cancer. Still, to be on the safe side, we may recommend some additional tests like biopsies, which involve taking a small piece of tissue from the problematic area and sending it to a lab to see if abnormal or cancerous cells are present in it.
If we do find cancerous or precancerous conditions in your mouth, catching them early may mean you can have an easier treatment and a better chance of survival. So always make sure you keep your regular dental appointments so that we can watch out for any such signs. To schedule an appointment with us, call us at (970) 822-7622 today.