Oral cancer screenings involve the examination of your oral cavity and surrounding tissue for areas infected with cancer. Not only is an oral screening reassuring, but also catching problems early on is critical to your well-being. At Prime Dental in Grand Prairie, we agree with the National Cancer Institute when they say that cancer screenings should be undergone before symptoms even appear.
There are two major parts to an oral cancer screening, a visual exam and a physical exam.
The visual exam includes the inspection of your face, lips, neck, nasal cavity, as well as your oral cavity. By looking at these parts from various angles, your dentist can be sure to notice any asymmetries, bumps, discoloration, or other adverse occurrences regarding your oral care. That said, your dentist uses a tongue depressor to take a look at the back of your mouth, while mitigating the interference of the tongue.
At the same time, you may be asked to say “Ahh” to reveal areas not typically exposed in the back of the throat. Plus, there are a variety of other tools which can help your dentist assess the health of your gums, cheek-linings, throat, tonsils, and the surrounding area.
Next, a physical exam is necessary to confirm there is no cancer present. At Prime Dental in Grand Prairie, we know physical exams can be daunting, but we make everything just right for you. Specifically, your doctor or dentist will assess your oral area for abnormal bumps, masses, and legions that might otherwise go unseen by the naked eye. Not to mention, oral cancer can cause swelling, both painless and painful. So, checking for signs of inflammation visually and physically is critical to catching cancer early.
Alongside the everyday mirrors, miniature flashlights, and tongue depressor, there is a mixture of other standard tools used during this procedure. As a matter of fact, the Mouth Cancer Foundation suggests the use of an Oral CDx, which scrapes away mouth cells for off-site testing. Plus, Orascoptic devices may be used to see in the “hard-to-reach” spots.
Finally, your dentist or doctor may also use a nasopharyngolaryngoscope. Despite the confusing name, this flexible fiber optic cable offers a camera view of many difficult to see places.
At the end of the day, if you are concerned, you may need screening for oral cancer, check with Prime Dental in Grand Prairie. We are more than happy to set up and appointment with you to address any concerns.