Oral cancer screenings are an incredibly important part of routine oral health care and general dentistry. As with many forms of cancer, undetected oral cancer can have life-threatening consequences. In general dentistry, dentists should periodically screen their patients.
Though you don’t often think about oral health when you think about cancer, oral cancers affect many people and are sometimes deadly. Just as general practitioners need to screen their patients for cancer, general dentistry dentists must examine your mouth and gums to ensure you have no cancerous sores or patches of skin. If your dentist finds oral cancer in the early stages, they can get you the help you need.
Most general dentistry oral cancer screenings consist of a visual examination and a physical examination. Some dentists screen oral cancer with slightly more complex tests. Your Parkcrest Dental Group dentist might ask you to rinse your mouth with a blue dye specifically devised for oral cancer screenings. Sometimes cancerous or uncommon cells retain the dye more than healthy, normal cells. This helps your dentist discern which areas he should look at more closely. You might also find your dentist shining a light into your mouth during a general dentistry oral cancer screening. Abnormal skin cells will appear white in the light.
In the best case and typical scenario, you check out with perfect oral health. Otherwise, depending on the results, your dentist might ask for one of two things. Your dentist might ask that you come back for a follow-up visit, so they can reassess the potentially unhealthy area. This way they can gauge whether the cells are getting better or worse. If your dentist feels a bit more confident about what they’re seeing and dislikes it, they can perform a biopsy procedure. They will remove samples from the abnormal area, either your cheek or gum, and test these cells for cancer. Not all general dentistry dentists perform biopsies, so they might need to refer you to a different dentist.
Parkcrest Dental Group offers oral cancer screenings for all of our patients. Our highly trained staff of healthcare professionals perform an oral screening to check the skin around your neck, around your throat, and inside your mouth. If you notice red or white spots that are rough or uneven in texture, sores that won’t heal, and painful spots in your mouth, do not hesitate to contact your Parkcrest Dental Group dentist in Springfield, MO.