Get the Facts About Oral Cancer Screenings

In addition to examining you for signs of tooth decay and gum disease, your dentist is also responsible for performing oral cancer screenings. Screenings are usually conducted at the same time as dental cleanings and are one more reason why regular dental checkups are important. Your dentist can explain what to expect during an oral cancer screening at your next appointment. These facts will also help you understand screenings and their significance for your health.

What does a dentist look for during an oral cancer screening?

An oral cancer screening is performed during your usual dental checkups. He or she will examine the soft tissue inside your mouth and your tongue for red spots, white spots, and sores. Having any of these lesions in your mouth doesn’t mean you have oral cancer, and typically, these spots are benign. However, because oral cancer lesions often look very similar to harmless spots, your dentist will monitor them closely. Screenings allow your dentist to diagnose oral cancer in its early stages, when it is easiest to treat.

What happens if a suspicious spot is detected?

If your dentist has any concerns about any lesions in your mouth, he or she may perform a brush test, during which cells are painlessly removed from the lesion for testing. If any abnormal cells are detected, he or she may recommend a biopsy to learn more about the lesion. If cancer or precancerous cells are found, the lesion will usually be surgically removed.

Should I report lesions in my mouth to my dentist between appointments?

You can play an important part in oral cancer detection by examining your mouth between appointments and reporting any concerning spots to your dentist. Call your dentist if you have white or red spots anywhere in your mouth, a sore that doesn’t heal or that bleeds, or pain or numbness in the mouth or on your lips.

Call your provider at Associated Dental Care and Eagles Falls Dentistry, the practices of MyDentist, if you are concerned about any kind of oral health symptoms, from a sore tooth to soft tissue lesions. You can schedule a consultation at a dental office in Bloomingdale, IL, by calling (630) 894-5180.

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