It is common for people to overlook the importance of oral cancer screenings when they visit their dentist. However, it is important to undergo regular screenings as early detection of precancerous conditions in the mouth can help dentists treat them before it progresses to an advanced stage. Fortunately, if oral cancer is caught early it can be treated successfully. This is why it is imperative to schedule a visit with one of our qualified oral cancer screening, dentists located in Basking Ridge & Morristown, NJ. Our team of highly skilled dentists can help identify any abnormalities or precancerous lesions to protect your oral health today.
What is oral cancer screening?
Essentially, oral cancer screening is a type of examination performed by a dentist to search for any signs of cancer or precancerous lesions in an individual’s mouth. Oral cancer can be detected in an individual’s face, tongue, cheeks, salivary glands, throat, gums, and lips. Unfortunately, there are several different types of oral cancer that an individual could be diagnosed with. However, it is pertinent to note that dentists do not diagnose patients during oral cancer screenings. Instead, dentists recommend having a biopsy performed to further evaluate any abnormalities in an individual’s mouth. Additionally, most oral cancers do not have symptoms which could make it difficult to detect if an individual does not schedule regular oral cancer screenings. If oral cancer is left untreated or undiagnosed, it can spread throughout an individual’s body to an advanced stage that is difficult to successfully treat.
How is it performed?
Oftentimes, dentists examine a patient’s mouth to check for early signs of cancer. First, dentists will typically examine both the visual and physical examination to search for any abnormalities. As mentioned above, oral cancer can be detected even on an individual’s face. In addition, dentists will look for any discoloration or sores that seem out of the ordinary or abnormal. They will also examine the tissue inside the mouth for any abnormalities or lumps. Dentists may also look for any tender, painful, or swollen areas of the mouth as it can signify an underlying issue. Moreover, dentists check for the following when they perform an oral cancer screening:
- Red or white patches in the mouth or on the lips
- Bleeding sores or spots that continuously bleed or don’t heal
- Lumps or hard/rough spots in the mouth
- Numbness or pain when you bite down on your teeth
- Masses or nodules (in the head, neck, mouth, or jawline)
Ultimately, the purpose of an oral cancer screening is to detect any abnormalities that could be cancer and to successfully treat it before it progresses or spreads. If you are interested in having an oral cancer screening examination performed, please don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with one of our dedicated and trusted dentists. Allow our experienced dentists to help you today!