What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
Dentists perform a dental examination to determine the presence of cancerous cells in your oral cavity. Ideally, an oral cancer screening is a procedure in preventive dentistry in Edison that allows dental experts to detect and cure cancer early.
When you visit a dental clinic in Edison for routine dental exams, the dentist will also examine your mouth for any anomalies indicative of precancerous cells. Should your dentist recommend additional screening measures, it could be out of a suspicion of oral cancer. However, an oral cancer screening is not a cure for cancer. It is the first measure necessary to detect any abnormalities early. Still, you will require additional tests like a biopsy to diagnose you with any oral cancer.
Who Needs Oral Cancer Screening?
Anyone can benefit from regular oral cancer screenings. The test aims to detect any anomalies in your oral cavity that may point to oral cancer. There is no point in undergoing the screening test frequently unless you are at a high risk of oral cancer. Some groups of people that require frequent oral cancer screenings are:
- A previous diagnosis of oral cancer or a different type of cancer.
- Smokers – and patients who consume tobacco in any other form, including snuffing and chewing tobacco.
- A family history of oral cancer
- Alcoholics and heavy consumers of alcohol
- History of significant exposure to direct sunlight
What Does Oral Cancer Screening Entail?
The screening process entails two main facets; extraoral examination and intraoral cavity examination. During the different tests, expect your dentist to put gloved fingers in your mouth for palpation repeatedly. Further, your dentist may employ a special blue screening dye to cause abnormal cells in your mouth to stand out by absorbing the dye and turning blue. The dentist may also use a screening light that makes healthy tissue appear dark while the abnormal cells appear white. While on the dentist’s chair at KK Dental Edison for oral cancer screening, anticipate the following steps:
- Extraoral examination
- The face – the Edison dentist will evaluate your entire face, looking for asymmetry, ulcerations, masses, or swelling. The dentist will quickly identify any hard protrusions on your face and skull.
- The eyes – your dentist will consider different aspects of your eyes, including cranial nerve involvement, swelling of the eye, and periorbital inflammation.
- Ears and nose – the nasal evaluation is crucial as it is directly linked to the maxilla and maxillary sinus, which can impact oral health. The dentist will check for hearing impairment, ulcerous lesions, pigmentations, and tumors.
- The neck – the dentist will compare both sides of your neck, particularly for any signs of lymph node enlargement and signs of immobility.
- The thyroid – the dentist will evaluate the thyroid glands for any tenderness, nodules, or masses. (S)he will have you swallow while the fingers are adjacent to the gland.
- The lips – the dentist will evaluate your lips with your mouth both opened and closed. Any texture, color, firmness, contour, or symmetry anomalies will be noteworthy for the screening process.
- Intraoral cavity examination
- Buccal mucosa – is the lining of your cheeks and the back of the lips where they touch the teeth. The dentist can examine the area along the upper and lower jaws by placing fingers accordingly to identify any irregularities in your Buccal mucosa’s firmness, texture, and color.
- Tongue – you will stick out your tongue, moving it from side to side as the dentist evaluates it. A nerve paralysis can inspire limitations to movement or cause your tongue to deviate in the direction of the lesion. Your tongue’s lateral border is especially a point of concern since it is the most common site for tongue cancers. The other area of observation is the tongue’s ventral surface when you touch the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue.
- The mouth floor – refers to the entire U-shaped area from the alveolar ridge to the tongue’s ventral surface.
- Hard and soft palate – rough patches, white spots, masses, and asymmetry are noteworthy for the evaluation.
- Tonsils – your dentist will focus on the oropharynx to identify any redness, swelling, or ulceration.