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Oral Cancer Screenings
Here at Star City Dental, we have experienced dental practitioners who can call out oral cancer signs from a mile away. Oral cancer screening involves a couple of examination procedures that are aimed at identifying any signs of cancer or precancerous lesions in your mouth. Often, by the time any kind of cancer fully manifests itself, it is in a developed stage that leaves little chance of getting cured.
The aim of the oral cancer screening procedures is to ensure the cancer is caught early enough when there is a better chance of getting cured. Our dentists will always advise that oral cancer screening be a part of your routine dental checkup. Oral cancer screening is done in various phases. Below, we explore these phases.
Thorough Physical Examinations
Physical examination is usually the initial step of oral cancer screening. The results of physical usually determine whether you will be subjected to further examination with might involve special equipment. Our dentists usually use their eyes and sense of touch during physical examination.
They will ask you to open your mouth, and they will carefully check for any visible sores or abnormal patches in your mouth. They will also investigate your breathing and speech in a bid to establish the condition of your throat. Note that oral cancer screening encompasses all dental structures and all the structures and organs that are connected to the mouth in one way or the other.
Our dentists will go further and feel the inside of your mouth with their hands. This touch will help them identify any underlying swellings or abnormalities that might be in your mouth. They will feel your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, gums, and lips. From this initial investigation, our dentist will determine whether you need further examination.
Performing Special Tests
If after the physical examination, you are referred to further investigation, some additional special tests will be carried out in the next phase. These tests involve gulping some blue dye and rinsing your mouth with it. Any abnormal cells in the mouth will be highlighted by the blue dye.
The other test involves the use of radiation. A beam is usually shone into your mouth, and this light makes any abnormal cells or tissues appear distinctively white. All healthy tissue appears dark under the illumination. These two tests are not conclusive, though; they are complementary tests to the physical examination. If after these tests, our dentist believes that you might have or be at risk of having oral cancer, a biopsy procedure will be recommended.
A biopsy procedure involves the testing of cells in a laboratory. It is often done by experienced doctors after some cells have been extracted from the area where the cancer is suspected to be developing. A biopsy is usually the final stage of determining whether you have oral cancer, or you are facing the risk of developing oral cancer. If the results are positive after all these steps, treatment needs to start immediately to ensure you stand a good chance of getting cured.
Call Star City Dental at (531) 220-0044 today if you have any concerns about oral cancer and oral health in general. We are the experts, and we are always glad to offer insight.