Oral cancer screenings are an essential part of maintaining your dental health. At Dental Care of Fremont, these screenings identify abnormal tissue growths, which may indicate the presence of oral cancer. Oral cancer often goes unnoticed in its early stages; it can be challenging to detect without regular screenings. Oral cancer screening aims to identify abnormalities at an early stage when they are most treatable. During an oral cancer screening, the dentist or dental hygienist will thoroughly examine the oral cavity, including the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, throat, and other oral tissues.
What Is Oral Cancer?
Mouth cancer, or oral cancer, is an oral disease that affects the mouth’s soft tissues. It often goes undetected because symptoms are painless early and may be mistaken for cold sores or strep throat. Symptoms of mouth cancer include red or white patches inside the mouth, sores that bleed easily and do not heal properly, lumps in the mouth, chronic sore throats, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and a change in voice.
While tobacco and alcohol use are still the most common risk factors for developing oral cancer, HPV infection can increase the risk of oral premalignant lesions. Regular screenings can help to detect the disease in its early stages when treatment can be most effective. An annual comprehensive exam is recommended for all patients to catch any abnormalities early and prevent the development of more severe issues.
The Procedure for Oral Cancer Screening
Your dentist will perform an oral cancer screening by visually examining the inside of your mouth for any unusual growths or sores. They will look for any red or white patches, including ones raised from the skin and others flat against the gums. They will also feel your cheeks and tongue to check for lumps or irregular tissue. If any areas of concern are visible or palpable, the dentist may need more tests to determine the cause. In some cases, they may recommend a biopsy; however, this is typically only recommended if cancer is suspected or cannot be ruled out by a visual examination. If the test results indicate no abnormal cells are present, your screening results will be recorded in your medical history for future reference. However, if any changes are found, your doctor will schedule you for a follow-up visit to discuss potential treatment options with you further.
The Benefits of Oral Cancer Screening
The primary benefit of oral cancer screening is the early detection of oral cancer or precancerous conditions. When oral cancer is detected early, the chances of successful treatment and favorable outcomes are significantly higher. Early detection allows for timely intervention and a better chance of preventing disease progression. It allows for less invasive treatment approaches, potentially avoiding extensive surgeries or aggressive treatments. Early detection increases the likelihood of successful treatment, lower morbidity rates, and higher survival rates.
The best way to avoid oral cancer is to receive oral cancer screenings regularly and to catch cancer in its earliest stages when it can be treated more easily. Visit Dental Care of Fremont at 43195 Mission Blvd # B4, Fremont, CA 94539, or call (510) 651-8479 for the best care possible.