Oral Cancer Screening | Nottingham Dental

Oral Cancer Screening is a series of tests that orthodontists and dentists conduct to look out for signs of oral cancer. Nottingham Dental is one of the best dental clinics in Katy TX for Oral Cancer Screening.

Oral Cancer Screening

Oral cancer screening is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a series of tests that orthodontists and dentists conduct to look out for signs of oral cancer or for conditions that may eventually lead to oral cancer. If there’s a risk of oral cancer, it’s important to catch the precancerous conditions fast before they get worse. According to the American Cancer Society, around 30,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year and it leads to over 7,000 deaths per year. That’s why it’s imperative to go for regular oral cancer screening. If your dentist detects any anomaly or abnormal growth in your mouth, they’ll suggest a biopsy or start treatment immediately. Nottingham Dental offers comprehensive oral cancer screening. Please continue reading for a detailed description of what oral cancer screening entails and how to prevent oral cancer altogether.

Need an Oral Cancer Screening?

While certain habits — like smoking — can drastically increase the likelihood of oral cancer, no one is completely immune from it. Oral cancer screening is necessary because it looks for early signs of oral cancer or precancerous conditions. This allows you to treat oral cancer at an early stage or avoid it altogether, thus potentially saving your life.

If you identify with any of the following conditions, you should go for regular oral cancer screening tests:

  • Regular consumption of tobacco in any form.
  • Heavy or regular alcohol consumption.
  • Regular exposure to the sun for prolonged periods of time.
  • Earlier diagnosis of oral cancer or precancerous conditions.

How to Detect Oral Cancer?

Most people are surprised to find the large amount of surface area we have to cover during oral cancer screening. We have to examine the soft tissues around your mouth, cheeks, lips, jaws, tongue, and more.

If you’re concerned about oral cancer, you should look out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Sores around your lips or mouth that don’t heal or resurface over and over.
  • White or red sores or patches inside your mouth.
  • Weakened or loose teeth.
  • Lumps inside your mouth or in your soft tissues.
  • Mouth pains, jaw aches, or ear pains.
  • Difficulty while swallowing food.

How to Check for Oral Cancer?

Dentists and orthodontists conduct a wide range of tests to detect the presence of oral cancer or other precancerous conditions.

Visual Examination

The first step during oral cancer screening is a simple visual examination. During this procedure, the dentist will visually inspect your face, nose, neck, lips, and oral cavities. If you wear dental appliances like braces or retainers, you’ll have to take them off. During the visual inspection, the dentist will look out for anomalies such as lumps, ulcers, sores, swelling, or patches. The dentist may also hold your tongue down with a depressor so they can examine the deeper recesses of your oral cavity using a mirror and light. Additional tools may be necessary to examine your throat, tonsils, and other soft tissues.

Physical Examination

Some anomalies can’t be seen but are felt instead. As such, the dentist will use physical touch to examine different parts of your mouth, jaws, cheeks, and oral cavities. They’ll look for any suspicious nodes, bumps, or swollen regions. The dentist will also ask you to describe any abnormal sensations in parts of your body and touch that region to check for discomfort. While symptoms of oral cancer are often painful, they may also be painless or they may only cause discomfort upon touch. You’ll have to give a detailed and accurate description of how you feel physically.

Screening Tests

Once the visual tests and physical inspection are done, the dentist will move on to screening tests. These will include the following procedures:

  • The dentist will shine a light inside your mouth. This is a special type of light that will make regular tissues appear dark but abnormal tissues will be white, thus being distinguished as cancerous lesions.
  • The dentist may also ask you to rinse your mouth with a special blue dye. The color will cling on to abnormal tissues and the dentist will be able to see them more clearly.

How to Avoid Oral Cancer?

There are no sure shot means of preventing oral cancer. As mentioned previously, oral cancer can occur to anyone and at any age. However, there are certain habits and factors that drastically increase your risk of oral cancer.

If you want to avoid oral cancer, you should heed the following advice.

  • Tobacco consumption is the biggest risk factor of oral cancer because the chemicals used in tobacco alter your cellular structure. As such, you should avoid tobacco consumption in any form, whether smoked or chewed.
  • Significant alcohol consumption has also been shown to increase your risk of oral cancer. It’s okay to consume alcohol in small doses — two drinks a day if you’re under 65 and one drink a day if you’re over 65. However, any more can increase your risk of oral cancer.
  • Whenever you step out into the sunlight, you need to wear sunscreen on your face and lips and ideally have some hat to protect you from direct sunlight.
  • Finally, it’s absolutely necessary to go for regular dental appointments every 3 months or 6 months. Most dental clinics offer free oral cancer screening along with your dental cleaning appointments. If there are any precancerous conditions, the regular checkup will catch them and prevent oral cancer altogether.

Best Clinic for Oral Cancer Screening

Nottingham Dental is the best clinic for oral cancer screening in Katy, TX. We have some of the country’s best dentists and orthodontists who will examine your oral cavities for the minutest signs of oral cancer. We have the latest and most accurate screening tests for oral cancer for accurate results. For more information, please schedule an appointment with our dentist today.