We Check Your Mouth for Oral Cancer at Each Checkup
Posted on 1/30/2020 by Louis Taglia Jr. DDS
Oral cancer is a very serious matter that, sadly, does not get as much attention as other forms of cancer. Although it can be very dangerous, it is highly treatable when it is caught in the early stages.
For this reason, we make it a routine part of every dental checkup to closely inspect your mouth for signs of oral cancer.
The first thing we will do is closely inspect the soft tissues in your mouth (the cheeks and gums). We are looking to see whether there are any discolored patches. Many times oral cancer will initially present as a white or reddish patch. Of course, this does not mean that every discoloration in your mouth is oral cancer, but it is one thing we look for.
We will also use a gloved finger to carefully feel the surfaces of the tissues in your mouth. We are checking for abnormalities such as lumps or irregular surface formations. We may sometimes check your throat and neck to see if there are any obvious lumps present.
Other Tests In addition to visual and manual examinations, we may sometimes employ other tests if we suspect that oral cancer is present. We can use a special dye and have you rinse your mouth with it. This dye will sometimes make any cancer cells have a blue appearance, making them easier to find. We also might employ a specialized light that can make the cancer cells appear to be white, while the healthy cells will appear to be dark.
If we suspect anything, we may take a biopsy just to be sure. Although this may sound frightening, it can be done with a minimal amount of discomfort. We are here to help you maintain your oral health. If you have any questions about oral cancer, please contact us today!