Oral Cancer Screening
During your routine visits, we here at Calapooia Family Dental may recommend or perform oral cancer screenings. Oral cancer is a frightening and uncomfortable topic, but screenings are an important part of preventive dentistry.
Receiving regular screenings allow us to catch potential abnormalities in their earliest stages when they are easiest to treat. Problems that develop into major complications can drastically affect your oral and overall health. As your dentist, our job is to prevent this from happening!
A Physical and Visual Exam
During your oral cancer screening, we will utilize the latest techniques and technology to ensure a more comfortable, effective experience. Most screenings are broken down into physical and visual components. New diagnostic technology allows us to examine smaller, more subtle abnormalities to determine whether or not additional treatment is necessary.
During the physical part of your exam, Dr. Summers or Dr. Hagerty will feel around your mouth, head, cheeks, chin, and jaw for any unusual masses or nodules. This includes immobility problems with tissue that is normally mobile and painless or tender swellings. We may also ask you to swallow while we examine your throat.
During the visual part of your exam, we will take a look at your face, neck, lips, nasal cavity, and oral cavity for any potential problems. This includes asymmetries, swellings, bumps, ulcerations, and discolorations. We may also use specialized hand tools to evaluate your inner cheeks, palate, throat, tongue, and gums.
An oral cancer screening requires little or no preparation. However, we may ask you to take out any removable dental appliances so that we can get a better look at the tissue underneath. There should also be little or no discomfort during your exam, as we use gentle and minimally-invasive techniques.
Why We Perform Oral Cancer Screenings
The goal of an oral cancer screening is to catch cancerous and precancerous lesions and other symptoms at the earliest stages. Cancer and lesions are easiest to remove and cure in their beginning stages. It is also important to note that most screenings are largely precautionary, not diagnostic.
We may recommend more frequent screenings due to certain risk factors, some of which include:
||Smoking and tobacco use
||Heavy alcohol consumption
||Significant sun exposure
||A previous tumor, lesion, or cancer diagnosis
After Your Oral Cancer Screening
Because most screenings are precautionary, there is usually no follow-up until your next routine appointment. If we do notice any areas of concern, we may recommend a biopsy or refer you to a specialist. A biopsy helps determine the root cause of any particular symptom.
In some cases, we may suggest a follow-up appointment in a few weeks to monitor the development of an abnormality. If the area grows or changes during this time, you may need additional treatments or tests. Talk with Dr. Summers during your appointment if you have any questions or concerns. Usually, there is no need for alarm.
Schedule Your Screening Today!
Most screenings take place during a routine checkup appointment. If you would like to learn more call (541) 936-9222 and schedule your screening today!