Oral Cancer Screening
At Elite Dental of Natick, we specialize in some treatments and procedures designed to reassure you that your oral and overall health is in good standing. One of these procedures, an oral cancer screening, is a physical and visual exam to check for potential abnormalities in your oral cavity and surrounding areas. The goal is to ensure there are no apparent problems or trigger early treatment if necessary.
When Do We Recommend Oral Cancer Screenings?
Most oral cancer screenings take place during a routine examination. The procedure is relatively quick and completely painless unless we discover a potential problem. We may recommend more frequent screenings depending on the current status of your oral health and certain risk factors you exhibit.
Some patients are at a greater risk of oral cancer due to:
|Smoking or tobacco use
|Extensive alcohol consumption
|A history of significant exposure to the sun, especially of the lips
|A family history of oral cancer
|A previous cancer diagnosis, oral or otherwise
People who exhibit these risk factors have the most to gain from an oral cancer screening. We preform more frequent screenings to detect cancerous and precancerous lesions in their earliest stages. During these beginning stages, tumors, lesions, and other abnormalities are performed to cure or remove.
What to Expect During Your Oral Cancer Screening
Oral cancer screenings do not require any preliminary preparation. However, we may ask you to remove any detachable oral appliances to get a better look at the soft tissues underneath. Your screening will be split up into two components: a visual and physical exam.
During the visual portion of your screening, Dr. Bethany Polnar will examine your lips, nasal cavity, oral cavity, neck, and other facial structures. The goal is to look for swellings, bumps, discolorations, ulcerations, asymmetries, and other potential abnormalities. We may also use a tongue depressor and ask you to say “ahh,” which gives us a better look at the back of your throat and tonsils.
During the physical portion of your screening, Dr. Bethany Polnar will feel around these areas for any unusual masses or nodules. Swellings and masses that may indicate a potential problem can be either tender or painless. Another symptom we may feel for is the immobility of tissues that are typically mobile.
After Your Oral Cancer Screening
It is important to remember that an oral cancer screening is generally considered a precautionary procedure, not a diagnostic one. In nearly every case, a screening does not result in any further action. If we do discover a potential problem, there are a few things that may happen.
Depending on your individual situation, we may recommend seeing a specialist more familiar with cancerous and precancerous abnormalities. In some instances, we may also suggest a biopsy procedure. A biopsy involves removing a small sampling of abnormal cells to determine the root cause of a particular symptom.
An oral cancer screening can also serve as a wake-up call. The discovery of certain symptoms, which usually prove benign, may encourage you to change your lifestyle habits. You may also find it beneficial to ask questions and voice any fears or concerns, which can help you reduce your risk factors.
Schedule Your Oral Cancer Screening Today!
Much like other routine procedures, an oral cancer screening can give you peace of mind. Call (508) 319-9339 to schedule your oral cancer screening today!