What to Expect from a Thorough Oral Cancer Screening

Smoking and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection are two of the most common causes of oral cancer, but anyone can potentially develop this deadly disease. General dentists and doctors alike strongly recommend routine oral cancer screenings, as early detection saves lives and reduces the risk of severe facial disfiguration. These health screenings aren’t uncomfortable, and they only take a few minutes to complete.

Visual Examination

A thorough oral cancer screening begins with a brisk visual exam of your face and neck. Your dentist can begin this exam while talking to you about your medical history and oral care. He or she will look for any noticeable facial asymmetry, facial paralysis, swelling, and skin lesions, including lesions on the lips. While you answer questions, your dentist is checking for any asymmetry of your lips as you move them. Unusual changes in your voice can also offer health clues.

Manual Palpation

The term “manual palpation” may sound intimidating, but it really just means feeling a certain area to check for possible swelling or lumps. While wearing disposable gloves, your dentist may gently palpate your lower face, including the cheeks and along the jaws.

Oral Cavity Examination

This is the main component of an oral cancer screening. Your dentist may begin with a close inspection of your lips when they are both closed and open. The vermilion border of the lower lip is a frequent target of these types of cancers. Your dentist will check the tissues on the inside of your mouth around the lip area. He or she will continue to inspect and palpate the soft tissues of the oral cavity, while moving your tongue around as necessary.

Screening Results

After your health screening, your dentist will let you know if anything is abnormal. An abnormality doesn’t always indicate cancer. Some abnormalities may be precancerous, while others might be caused by physical injuries. Your dentist will explain his or her findings.

Protect your health by scheduling your oral cancer screening today at Eagle Falls Dentistry or Associated Dental Care. Our dental offices in Bloomingdale, IL offer complete dental services for your whole family. Get in touch today at (630) 894-5992.

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