Oral Cancer Screening

Early Diagnosis of Oral Cancer Is Critical

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be an estimated 58,450 new cases of either oral or oropharyngeal cancer diagnosed in 2024. Based on past figures, around 12,230 people will die this year from these types of cancers.

Your Dentist and Oral
Cancer Screenings

The one who is most likely to find oral cancers early is your dentist, assuming you maintain regular visits twice a year. A dentist is trained to examine and evaluate a patient for early stages of oral cancer.

While there isn't any statistical information about how dental oral screenings are effective in saving lives, cancer experts state that finding oral cancer in the early stages is going to allow for more effective treatment and a better chance of recovery.

What Is An Oral Cancer

Oral cancer screens can be done in conjunction with regular dental exams. It involves a clinical exam of the patient's mouth and throat, which a dentist does with a mirror, a light, and a tongue depressor during the routine part of the exam.

The dentist is looking for unusual things like bumps, swelling, ulcerations, or areas of unusual color. They will check every part of the mouth including the mouth roof, tonsils, cheeks, tongue, and gums. A dentist will also feel the outside of the neck and jaw to look for any strange masses. They will feel under the chin and the outside area of the cheeks.

What Happens Next?

For many people, this part of the exam is over and the dentist continues looking at individual teeth for cavities. However, dentists who find abnormalities will conduct a second type of exam.
This part of the exam will use either a laser light or toluidine blue dye to review unusual tissue areas. The laser light reflects differently on abnormal issues and the dye turns blue if there is irregular tissue.
A third option is that the dentist will rinse your mouth with an acetic acid solution and then use a special light to look at possibly abnormal tissue again.


Those patients who have irregular tissue or other abnormalities found in the exam are referred to an oncologist to confirm the diagnosis and proceed with treatment.
These exams are painless and effective in getting an early diagnosis of oral cancer. That ensures the best chance possible of beating this deadly disease. Schedule a regular dental exam today and get an oral cancer screening included.
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