When you visit Scottsdale Center for dental health for routine visits to have your oral cavity examined and cleaned as part of dental care, the dentist also performs oral cancer screening, looking for signs of precancerous lesions or cancer in your mouth. The dentist aims to identify mouth cancer early when the chances of curing it successfully are higher.
Dentists routinely perform examinations of your mouth during regular visits screening for oral cancer. Some dentists incorporate additional tests to help identify areas of abnormal cells in your mouth. Medical organizations dispute on whether oral cancer screening is beneficial for healthy people without any risk factors. No evidence is currently available to prove oral cancer screening can reduce the risk of fatalities from this condition. However, you can decide with your dentist whether an oral exam or a particular test is beneficial for you based on your risk factors.
Oral cancer screening aims to detect mouth cancer symptoms or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer early. When seen in the earliest stages, removal of cancer or lesions are easy and deliver successful outcomes.
No evidence is currently available to prove oral cancer screening can save lives. It is why many organizations don’t agree about the benefits of an oral exam for cancer screening. Some groups favor the exams, while the others claim sufficient evidence isn’t available to recommend the same.
Oral cancer screening benefits people with a high risk of oral cancer, although research hasn’t proven it. Some factors contributing to the increase of the risk of oral cancer include:
Many people are diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer over the last several years, but the reasons for the increase in numbers isn’t clear. Many people affected by cancers are associated with the sexually transmitted infection human papillomavirus (HPV).
If you are concerned about your risks of oral cancer, you must discuss with your doctor or dentist about ways you can reduce your risks. You can inquire with the professionals which screening tests may be beneficial for you.
Some limitations exist in oral exams for cancer screening.
Oral cancer screening may require you to undergo additional tests. Sores are present in many people’s mouths, with most being noncancerous. Oral cancer screening exams cannot determine which sores are cancerous or benign.
If the general dentist Scottsdale locates an unusual sore further testing is recommended to determine its cause. The optimal way to decide whether or not you have oral cancer is to remove the abnormal cells and test them cancer after performing a biopsy.
All mouth cancers are not detected by oral cancer screening. Merely having a look at your mouth is insufficient to detect precancerous lesions or cancer which may go undetected.
Oral cancer screenings haven’t proven themselves as helpful for saving lives. No evidence is available to demonstrate that routine exams looking for oral cancer signs reduce the number of fatalities caused by this disease. However, as a preventive measure, oral cancer screening may help detect cancers early when the likelihood of a cure is better.
During the screening, the dentist looks over your mouth’s insides, asking you to remove any dentures or partials you are wearing, and checks for red or white patches or mouth sores. The dentist uses gloved hands to feel the tissues in your mouth, checking for lumps or abnormalities. The dentist also examines your neck and throat for lumps.
Oral cancer screenings shouldn’t scare you because they are merely a preventive measure to detect signs of cancer early. The tests in no way indicate that you are affected by or are prone to oral cancer. The screenings are performed during routine dental exams and don’t require you to schedule additional dental visits.
If any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions are detected, your dentist recommends that you revisit them in a few weeks to verify whether the abnormal area still exists and note whether it has expanded or changed over time. If required, the dentist performs a biopsy to remove some cells for testing in a laboratory to determine whether you have cancer cells in your mouth. If the tests deliver positive results, you receive a referral to an oncologist specializing in oral cancer treatment.