Early detection is the most successful way to treat oral cancer. This is why you must schedule a screening with your dentist in the near future, along with your regular six-month exam.
You may have questions about this screening. Let’s break this process down so that you will be adequately prepared for the upcoming appointment.
The first step involves a visual inspection of the gums, teeth and surrounding tissues. Your dentist will be looking for any bumps or abnormalities that might require further attention.
This is followed by a physical examination, feeling for nodules and unusual masses that might be present around the jaw or chin. You will be asked if you feel any type of discomfort during this stage.
Finally, certain devices such as a small brush may be used to remove a handful of cells for further analysis. In other cases, an instrument known as a “nasopharyngolaryngoscope” can be employed to obtain detailed images of your throat (after a sedative or a local anaesthetic has been applied).
What Happens After the Screening?
This is mainly a precautionary step as opposed to a procedure which is intended to accurately diagnose a specific condition. If an abnormality is detected, it is likely that a more in-depth follow-up appointment will be required.
Those who regularly smoke or consume alcohol are recommended to get screenings on a more frequent basis as they are at a higher risk of developing certain types of oral cancer.
Oral cancer screenings are quite common and they are normally associated with little (if any) discomfort. On a final note, let us highlight the fact that oral cancer screenings are rather straightforward and yet, they can be pivotal when detecting any possible areas of concern.
Dr S Etemadi (DSE) Dental Practice is a private general dentist in Northampton. The dental practice offers a wide range of Cosmetic and General Dentistry from Complete Smile Makeover to Root Canal Treatment and Implants. Contact us for an initial consultation!