Oral Cancer Screening
Making sure you never skip a routine dental exam could save your life in the long run. Each time our dentist, Dr. LaRock, looks in your mouth, they’re checking for the earliest signs of oral cancer. The inclusion of oral cancer screenings into all of our team’s routine exams is part of our dedication to caring for our patients.
Finding cancer early allows for rapid treatment and the best possible outcome. Since the various forms of mouth and throat cancer can affect younger people more than other types of cancer, it’s important to look for it in practically every patient we see. Learn a little more about how this important type of screen protects you.
What Is the Dentist Looking For?
The dentist checks the inside of your mouth primarily for subtle signs of damage or irritation to the tissue. Carefully checking your cheeks with their gloved hands, one of our dentists will look for lesions and lumps in the cheek and around the gums.
They’ll also touch your teeth and ensure none are loose, another potential sign of jaw or gum problems that could be linked to oral cancer. Discoloration like redness or white patches will also draw attention during this screening.
If you allow them to, the dentist may also check your throat and neck to detect any swollen lymph nodes. The lips and gums are included in this exam since they can also harbor signs of cancer. The more widely you can open your mouth during the screening, the easier it is for the dentist to spot any hidden lesions.
We Screen for Oral Cancer During Every Visit
There are many forms of oral cancer, but most develop rapidly if not treated at an early stage. A quick screening for warning signs during every routine dental exam is just one easy way to spot problems for prompt treatment. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your own oral health to note any unusual lumps or lesions that form, letting your dentist check up on them to verify what’s going on.
Are Some Patients at Extra Risk?
Patients with a family history of any oral, jaw, or throat cancer should definitely get a screening every six months or less. Those who smoke, use other tobacco products, drink regularly, or get a lot of sun exposure should also consider extra cancer screening, including at the dentist’s office.
When Extra Testing Is Needed
One part of the oral cancer screening is a simple set of questions about any pain or difficulty swallowing you may experience. If you report these symptoms, the dentist may need to investigate further. Lumps, lesions, and patches of discoloration may lead our team to recommend a biopsy or further testing.
There’s no need to panic since many tests reveal nothing particularly serious. Yet it is a good idea to get these tests done promptly to determine if you need further consultation with a specialist. While many tests reveal nothing more than basic irritation to the mouth, it’s better than overlooking the early signs of a more serious problem.
Let us soothe your concerns about oral cancer risks with educational and supportive dental care here at LaRock Dental.
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If you’re looking for compassionate and quality dental care in Manchester, MI, you can rely on LaRock Dental and the caring team under Dr. LaRock.
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