What Are the Signs of Oral Cancer Screening?

June 1, 2023

Identifying mouth cancer at the earliest during your routine dental check-ups is the best way to treat it successfully. The professional may follow up with preliminary tests or refer you to an ENT specialist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Early warning symptoms of oral cancer to watch include pain, red/white patches, and mouth sores. Those with a high risk of mouth cancer are more likely to take advantage of oral cancer screening. However, there are no studies yet that have clearly proved this.

About Oral Cancer Screenings and Why It’s Important?

Oral cancer screenings are dental exams performed by healthcare providers to detect symptoms of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. The dentist or doctor will check the tongue, lips, cheeks, roof, floor, and gums of your mouth for abnormalities.

The purpose of oral cancer screenings in San Diego, CA is to detect mouth cancer at the earliest (when there is a high chance of cure). The following factors enhance the risk of mouth cancer.

  • Mouth cancer diagnosis performed earlier.
  • Heavy alcohol and tobacco use of any type.
  • History of significant sun exposure.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Let us explore the most common oral cancer signs:

  • White or red patches.
  • Tenderness or pain in the mouth.
  • A thick or hard Lump.
  • A feeling that something stuck in the throat.
  • Difficulty in hearing or ringing/pain in the ears.
  • Unexplainable bleeding in the mouth.
  • Significant weight loss.
  • A change in the way the dentures or teeth fit together when biting down.
  • A mouth sore that stays or bleeds for more than two weeks.
  • A crusted or rough region.
  • Issues while speaking, swallowing, moving using your jaw or tongue, or chewing.

How to Prepare for the Examination?

Patients do not need any special preparation for oral cancer screening. You can consider the following tips in mind.

Brush and Floss

Before visiting Scripps Poway Dental Care clinic, it is essential to clean your mouth thoroughly. It’s because tartar accumulation and other suspicious areas in the mouth are much easier to identify and treat if there are fewer food bits and grime. It also minimizes the time the professional will spend on dental cleaning.

Self Inspection

Before your dental appointment, you must self-inspect your mouth. Oral cancer screening appointments will happen if the lesion in the mouth stays for more than two weeks.

Pre-screening Consultation

It is also essential to share essential information with the dentist near you before the screening. During your phone or video consultation, the professional will ask questions about your medical history, medicine used, and lifestyle choices. Therefore, prepare for the questions to ask to make your consultation more effective.

Arrive on Time

Always stick to the appointment schedule because dentists are always busy attending to their patients. Doing this will prevent anxiety and stress during your appointment.

Biopsy and Additional Testing

A strange sore in the mouth will create the need for more diagnostic testing to find the origin of the sore. A biopsy allows the professional to receive a few samples of the sore. The dentist will use a cotton swab to collect the sample.

Oral Cancer Screening Procedure

Below is the cancer screening process:

Visual Exam

The visual examination helps evaluate the neck, face, oral cavity, and inside of the nose. The dentist will ask you to get rid of the removable dental devices. It will help them check for ulcers, swelling, bumps, or other abnormalities in the mouth.

Physical Exam

The next step includes physically examining the cheeks, head, oral cavity, and under chin.

Cancer Screening Dye

Sometimes, the doctor uses cancer screening tools to identify the symptoms of oral cancer. For example, the expert uses toluidine blue dye and coats suspicious lesions with it.

Screening Light

Special lights also help to detect abnormal tissues in the mouth. The professional will first floss the mouth using fluorescent mouthwash. Then, he/she will shine an oral cancer screening light in the mouth. It helps abnormal tissue to appear white and healthy ones to appear dark.

After Oral Cancer Screening

If the dentist in San Diego, CA finds something suspicious, he/she will ask the patient to visit for more regular cancer screenings. The exams are not complex.

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