Woman getting crystal river dental care

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer Screening

October 4, 2022 1:40 pm Published by
Preventive Crystal River dental care is essential for your oral health, especially if you have a family history of oral cancer. Oral cancer or mouth cancer is when a tumor develops in any part of your mouth. It could form in your lips, gums, the roof of your mouth, the insides of your cheeks, or the surface of your tongue.   A study published in the International Journal of Cancer shows that your risk of acquiring oral and pharyngeal cancer increases if you have a family member who’s had it.   Patient visiting her dentist at crystal river for a dental care checkup

What Do You Know About Oral Cancer? 

How Many People Suffer From Oral Cancer?  

The most recent statistics of the oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers for this year according to the American Cancer Society are as follows:  
  • Around 54,000 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer have been recorded in 2022 
  • An estimated 11,230 deaths are caused by an oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer 

How Is Oral Cancer Detected? 

It’s essential to see your dentist bi-annually so they can look out for early signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth. Oral cancer screening aims to detect mouth cancer before they get a chance to metastasize.   During an oral exam, your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth. Some may order further tests to check for abnormal cells. 

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer? 

Some of the symptoms of mouth cancer are the following:  
  • Sore or swelling in your lips that won’t heal 
  • Speech changes 
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing 
  • A lump in your neck 
  • Loose teeth 
  • Bleeding in your mouth 
  • Unexplained weight loss 
  • Red or white patches in your gums, tongue, or any part of your mouth 

Why Is Oral Cancer Screening Done?  

The main goal of this comprehensive screening test is to identify lesions that could potentially lead to mouth cancer. Early detection means early treatment. The earlier these lesions are removed, the higher the chances you’ll be cured and become cancer free.   If you have a high risk of developing oral cancer, you should have yourself screened regularly. Some of the factors that increase your risk of oral cancer are the following:  

How Do You Prepare for Oral Cancer Screening? 

There are no special preparations needed for oral cancer screening. It will be like going for a regular dental appointment.  

What Can You Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening? 

During an oral cancer screening appointment, your dentist will peer through your mouth to check for symptoms of oral cancer, as mentioned above. Aside from visually examining your mouth, your dentist will use gloved hands to feel tissues in your mouth and to check for lumps. Part of the screening process is to evaluate your throat and neck for other abnormalities.   Besides an oral exam, some dentists may order additional tests to screen you for oral cancer. These tests include oral cancer screening dye and an oral cancer screening light. With a screening dye, your dentist will ask you to rinse your mouth using a special blue dye before the exam. The abnormal cancer cells will take up the dye and appear blue.   Meanwhile, your dentist will shine a bright light on your mouth in a screening light test. The light makes your healthy tissues look dark, while the cancerous ones will look white.   Patient in crystal river dental care

Are You Interested in Crystal River Dental Care? 

If you have a family history of oral cancer, you should have yourself screened routinely. At Smile on Citrus, we care about your oral health. We offer comprehensive oral cancer screenings. Our team has years of experience in the industry, and we are confident in providing you and your family with quality dental services. Contact us today to learn more.
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