Did you know that oral cancer is the sixth most common form of cancer throughout North America? It can be difficult for the average person to notice signs of cancer in and around the mouth, which is why your dentist will perform oral cancer screenings during your regular check-ups. And since treatment is most effective in the early stages, having your mouth examined by your dentist is the best way to detect it before it progresses.
If you’re wondering how we perform oral cancer examinations, here’s what you need to know.
What To Expect During The Examination
Oral cancer examinations are fast and pain-free, so you don’t have to worry about any discomfort while having it done. The process will take about five minutes in total to complete, as the dentist assesses the oral cavity thoroughly for any irregularities such as lumps, redness, or tenderness.
Here’s What is Specifically Involved:
The dentist may begin by asking you about your lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking, including medications you may be taking for any health problems. This will give them a better understanding of any underlying conditions or habits that may influence your oral health.
The dentist will then begin examining your mouth entirely, often using a scope and special light to inspect the inside and outside of cheeks, your gums, and bottom and top of the mouth. The tongue will also be thoroughly inspected, and the dentist will usually ask you to stick out your tongue and say “ahhhh” so they can inspect the bottom of it, along with the back of the throat.
Your neck will also be inspected by the dentist as they feel around the lymph nodes of the surrounding area, along with the jaw and up to the ears.
Can I Perform A Self-Check?
Although it is always best to have a trained professional perform cancer screenings, you can also perform self-checks in between those 6 month periods. You can do this simply by using an oral mirror (that can usually be purchased at drugstores) and a small flashlight to inspect inside of your mouth looking for any lumps, redness or tenderness. Use your clean finger to press along the cheeks and face and beneath the tongue to look and feel for anything unusual or sore.
How Often Are These Performed?
Oral cancer examines should generally be performed by your dentist at your regular check-ups every 6 months. If your dentist or hygienist does not perform these, you can ask them since they are all trained to perform these.
At Dow’s Lake Dental, our team takes your oral health seriously, which is why our patients can always count on us to perform thorough oral cancer examinations at each and every check-up.Contact us us today to book your next appointment or to learn more about the services we offer.