Oral Cancer Screening Tests from Dentists: What to Expect from Them

Oral Cancer Screening Tests from Dentists: What to Expect from Them

December 1, 2021

During your routine dental exams every six months, your dentist also performs oral cancer screenings as part of the procedure. Dentists perform these tests because you visit them frequently to evaluate your oral and dental health. Oral cancer is mouth cancer of the oral cavity, and the dentist performs these exams during your visit to them for dental exams and cleanings.

Please do not be alarmed if your dentist pulls out your tongue, looks inside your nose, throat, and other parts of your oral cavity because they are merely looking for signs of oral cancer to identify the disease early when the chances of a cure are brighter. Most dentists perform oral cancer screenings during routine dental visits because it doesn’t require additional time, and the screening is completed in a matter of minutes.

What to Expect from Oral Cancer Screenings?

First of all, please understand the screenings are merely a test and not a diagnosis of oral cancer. The screening aims to detect precancerous lesions or mouth cancer early when they are easily treatable and cured. If you are at risk of oral cancer because of habits like smoking, excessive alcohol use, oral cancer diagnosis earlier, or significant exposure to sunlight, making you susceptible to the risk of lip cancer, oral cancer screenings prove beneficial to detect the conditions in their initial stages.

A steady increase has been witnessed among people diagnosed with mouth and throat cancer over the last several years, even as clarity isn’t available as to why. In addition, a rising number of cancers are associated with HPV, a sexually transmitted infection.

When undergoing oral cancer screening near you, expect the dentist to look into the inside of your mouth, checking for red or white patches or mouth sores. The dentist will also feel the tissues in your mouth, checking for lumps or other abnormalities. The professional also examines your throat and neck for lumps. However, there is no need for you to express concern or fear because the screening by the dentist near you is merely a preventive measure and not a diagnosis of oral cancer.

Dentists request that you remove any removable dental appliances from your mouth before the screening. The removal enables the dentist to examine your entire mouth. Besides your mouth, the dentist also observes your face, jaw, neck, lips, cheeks, oral cavity, and all other significant parts for oral cancer. The entire screening is completed in fewer than two minutes, leaving you wondering what the dentist was trying to assess by touching parts of your mouth unrelated to your teeth and gums.

Some Dentists May Perform Additional Tests

The dentist performing oral cancer screenings in Trafalgar sometimes uses special tests when screening for oral cancer. Information isn’t available on whether the additional tests offer more benefits than the oral exam. The exams may involve:

Rinsing your mouth with a unique blue dye before the exam to make abnormal cells in your mouth appear blue. The dentist may also shine a light in your mouth during the exam. Healthy tissues in your mouth appear dark under the light, while abnormal tissues appear white.

Results of Oral Cancer Screening

If your dentist detects any signs of mouth cancer, they may recommend a follow-up visit in a few weeks to determine whether the abnormal area is still present and whether it has expanded or changed over time. In addition, they may recommend a biopsy taking a sample of cells for laboratory testing to determine whether cancer cells are present. The dentist may conduct the biopsy or introduce you to an expert specializing in oral cancer determination and therapy.

The National Cancer Institute states cancer screenings must occur before any symptoms of cancer are visible. Oral cancer screenings are a preventive activity performed by dentists during dental visits. You’re not required to prepare yourself for the screening and merely need to schedule your appointment for routine dental checkups. The dentist performs the screening and completes the process even before you realize what’s happening.

Oral cancer screenings are complimentary exams performed by dentists during routine dental visits. If your dentist doesn’t discover anything abnormal, consider yourself lucky because you can return home with peace of mind knowing well enough that everything is alright with your mouth. During the exam, you can discuss your fears and apprehensions about oral cancer are preparing yourself with a list of questions, and seeking advice about lifestyle changes if required. You might be uncomfortable with oral cancer screenings, but if you participate in this quick procedure, it helps put your mind at ease.

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