Oral Cancer Screening
Here at Tropic Dental we believe regular oral cancer screening is essential, especially if you are predisposed to certain risk factors. Oral cancer screening is an examination of your mouth conducted by our dentists to check for any precancerous lesions or other conditions.
Oral cancer, just like any other type of cancer, needs to be detected early so that there is a better chance of treating and curing it. Our dentists perform oral cancer screening as part of your periodic dental health checkup.
Oral Cancer Risk Factors
Risk factors are factors that increase the likelihood of developing oral cancer, or those that cause it. Old age is one of the risk factors. Oral cancer is quite rare among children and young adults. Young age does not completely rule it out, though. The risk increases as one progress, and it is highest after 45 years of age. Tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs can contribute to oral cancer, as well. All types of tobacco increase your chances of developing oral cancer. Smoking tobacco and taking alcohol or any other drug greatly increases the risks.
The other risk factor is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV consists of a group of over 100 different types of viruses that are spread through sexual contact. On top of infecting the sexual organs, they can also infect the mouth and throat. Such infections will put you at the risk of developing oral cancer. There are many other risk factors associated with oral cancer. Our dentists will usually ask you a series of questions to determine the level of risk you have been exposed to. From there, they will know how to carry on with the screening.
Oral Cancer Screening Procedure
Oral cancer screening starts with a physical examination of your mouth. Our dentist will visually inspect your mouth, as well as feel various part of your mouth with his/her hands. He/she will be looking for any sores or white patches, lumps, and swellings, or any other abnormalities.
If you have any kind of dentures in your mouth, you will have to remove them during the screening. Our dentists have to inspect every inch of the soft tissues in your mouth. The physical examination determines where you will be referred to the next stage of the examination or not.
The next stage involves additional tests to determine if there are any abnormal cells in your mouth. Special screening tests involve rinsing the inside of your mouth with a special blue dye. Any abnormal cells in your mouth will absorb the dye and appear blue. A special light/radiation will be used to illuminate your mouth. Abnormal cells tend to appear lighter or whiter than the other parts of your mouth which are often dark. After the screening, our dentist will determine whether to recommend a biopsy procedure or not, depending on the results.
As mentioned earlier, oral cancer is curable if it is detected early. As such, it is important that you ensure that oral cancer screening is part of your periodic dental health checkup. Talk to us today by calling Tropic Dental at (239) 244-1555. We are always glad to respond to any questions or concerns that you might have.