Oral cancer is like other types of cancer, in that it involves uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in your body. But oral cancer occurs on your lips, salivary glands, tonsils, throat, esophagus, tongue, soft tissues or elsewhere inside your mouth. Because oral cancer is as potentially deadly as any other type of cancer, you need oral cancer screening from your dentist. This screening may find abnormal cells early and helps you gain the treatment you need.

Visual Exam for Oral Cancer

lady getting an oral cancer screeningThe first part of oral cancer screening is a visual exam. This exam involves your dentist checking the oral cavity and tissues of your mouth. If your dentist discovers a questionable area, appropriate steps can ensure you get the cancer care you need.

Many people make lifestyle choices that place even greater importance on undergoing regular cancer screenings by the dentist. These lifestyle choices include smoking, chewing tobacco and other behaviors.

The visual exam for oral cancer involves your dentist checking your face, neck, lips, nose interior and oral cavity for unusual looking changes. If you wear removable dentures, you must remove that appliance for this thorough check.

Your dentist looks for odd swelling, bumps, discoloration, ulcers or other abnormal looking areas using a light and mirror. He looks at your gums, palate, cheeks, tonsils, throat, and tongue.

Physical Exam for Oral Cancer

Your physical exam for oral cancer screening takes place with your dentist touching your head, cheeks, jaw region, chin and mouth to feel for odd masses or nodules. He or she also examines any areas where you suffer discomfort.

Some symptoms of oral cancer cause pain. But a pain in the mouth or other nearby regions can result from a problem in another part of your body.

The Dentist’s Tools for Oral Cancer Screening

For your oral cancer check, your dentist uses a light and mirror, as said before. But he or she also sometimes uses a tongue depressor or other medical equipment. If the dentist finds unusual looking spots in your mouth, an Oral CDx brush lightly removes some cells for lab testing. Another recent advancement in screening for oral cancer is the VELscope that uses blue light to show suspicious oral tissue.

Beyond these tools, some dentists use an Orascoptic DK. This device uses an acidic mouth rinse to help abnormal areas become more visible. Other methods include using special dyes to make questionable spots easy to see.

Your dental screening for oral cancer does not provide a diagnosis. It simply finds questionable areas requiring further testing and attention. Sometimes your dentist requests you visit the office more frequently than your twice-yearly visits, to keep an eye on these questionable regions. It is particularly important to undergo regular screening for oral cancer if you smoke, drink alcohol regularly or chew tobacco.

Preventive Dental Care in Queen Creek, Arizona

Marketplace Dental Excellence in Queen Creek, AZ provides preventive dental care that includes regular oral cancer screening. This screening is only one link between your oral health and overall physical wellness. In fact, your oral health plays a significant role in your general health and well-being.

Dental services provided by Marketplace Dental Excellence include:

Having healthy teeth and gums ensures your best overall health and self-confidence. This is why you need regular dental checkups and screenings for dental problems and oral cancer. In Queen Creek, AZ, call Marketplace Dental Excellence now at 480-397-0214 for more information about oral cancer screening and receiving the regular dental care you need for your healthiest life.