PREVENTIVE DENTISTRY - Oral Cancer Exam
An oral cancer exam is part and parcel of a good dental check up, particularly for older patients. Oral cancer is a very real concern among most of the population, just as much as breast or prostate cancer are. Thus, having an oral cancer exam at least yearly is important in maintaining not only oral health, but also overall bodily health.
The great thing about oral cancer exams is that they’re entirely painless, and many patients often don’t even realize that they’re having an oral cancer exam until after the exam is over. If you have dentures or partials you will be asked to remove them before the oral cancer exam begins, but other than that no special preparation is needed for an oral cancer exam.
Additionally, no machines will have to be used – an oral cancer exam requires nothing other than a trained professional looking at your mouth and discerning if there are any cancerous growths that are visible to the eye. Sometimes oral cancer exams won’t necessarily indicate cancer, but will show some sort of abnormalities that will require further care.
The oral cancer exam will involve your dentist using both hands to check the area under your jaw and the side of your neck, to search for any lumps that may indicate cancerous growths. Then your dentist will feel along the inside of your lips and cheeks for the same thing – your dentist will also have you stick out your tongue for a visual inspection. The roof of your mouth and the floor of your mouth will also be inspected, and finally your dentist will check out your tongue.
Oral cancer exams don’t take long, but they can help save your life by detecting possible cancer before it becomes deadly.