Oral cancer screening is usually done by a dentist or doctor with the purpose of finding signs of cancer in your mouth. The goal of this exam is to find signs of mouth cancer early, which makes treatment more effective. Sometimes this screening happens during routine dental appointments, and other times it’s recommended due to a patient’s known risk for oral cancer.

Why Oral Cancer Screening is Done

Patient undergoes her oral cancer screeningWhen you get oral cancer screening Orlando FL, the goal is to find precancerous lesions that have a risk of leading to oral cancer. Early stage cancer or precancerous lesions are the easiest to remove and the most likely to respond positively to treatment. Even though studies haven’t definitively proved that oral cancer screening saves lives, it can still give you peace of mind if you have any risk for oral cancer. Some risk factors for oral cancer include the following:

  • Any type of tobacco use, including cigars, pipes, cigarettes, chew and snuff
  • Heavy use of alcohol
  • Drug use that involves smoking
  • A previous diagnosis of oral cancer
  • Personal history of high sun exposure, which may cause lip cancer

If you have any of these risk factors, it’s a good idea to ask your dentist whether you should have oral cancer screening. If you do have any risk factors, you may also want to ask how you can reduce your risk.

Oral Cancer Screening Limitations

If you have risks for oral cancer, then oral cancer screening Orlando FL might be right for you. However, it’s important to consider everything involved in an oral exam. The exam may require you to take additional tests if a suspicious sore is present. Oral exams cannot always fully determine which mouth sores are cancerous and which are simply mouth sores. The only way to find this out for sure is to have the abnormal cells removed and tested through a biopsy.

It’s also important to know that an oral exam might not be able to detect all types of mouth cancer. Sometimes small cancers or lesions could go undetected despite an exam. As previously mentioned, there isn’t any definitive proof that screening for oral cancer reduces deaths caused by oral cancer. However, there’s no doubt that finding cancer early can give you the best chance of being treated and cured. The screening may not be right for everyone, but it can reap some benefit for those with the greatest risk of developing oral cancer.

Oral Cancer Screening Procedure

During the oral exam process, your Orlando dentist will look inside your mouth to find any red or white patches. They will also check for mouth sores. Using gloved protection, the dentist will then feel around your mouth for evidence of lumps or growths. If you wear dentures of any kind, you will need to remove them before the procedure in order for the dentist to see the area underneath. Some dentists also use additional tests during the procedure. Examples of these tests include a mouth rinse of special blue dye or use of light to investigate your mouth. The blue rinse test can make abnormal cells absorb the rinse and then appear blue. In the light test, abnormal tissue will look white while healthy tissue looks dark.

If abnormalities are present, your dentist may recommend a follow-up visit and/or a biopsy to test samples of the potentially abnormal cells.

If you decide to get oral cancer screening Orlando FL, then S. Keith Mahan, DDS can provide the service. Our friendly and caring team of professionals are standing by to help you take control of your oral health. We provide general dentistry and family dentistry Orlando FL trusts. Some of our services include:

Take measures to protect your mouth with oral cancer screening. Give us a call today at [DirectNumber] for a consultation.