Oral Cancer Screenings
Here at Perrinville Family Dentistry we conduct oral cancer screenings to find any precancerous conditions early while there is a good chance of curing them. Oral tissues are susceptible to cancerous lesions, just like any other tissues in the body. An oral cancer screening encompasses all tissues in your mouth and the connected tissues. That means the lips, face, nose, and neck are included during an oral cancer screening.
While there are no studies that prove that oral cancer screenings reduce the number of oral cancer cases reported, we believe it is an essential part of oral health. We believe that periodic screenings can indeed help you avoid getting to the stage of full-blown oral cancer.
How is Oral Cancer Screening Done?
Oral cancer screenings involve three types of exams. You’ll go through a visual exam, a physical exam, and some oral cancer screening equipment. During the visual exam, our oral health specialists will examine your visible oral tissues. It’s called a visual exam because our specialists use their eyes to investigate the inside of your mouth for swellings, patches, bumps, unusual color, ulcerations, asymmetries, and any other abnormality.
A visual screening also goes as far as the top of the throat and the inside of the nose. Our specialists will use a torchlight and a mirror to look deeper into your mouth. They always have a tongue depressor, which they use to push the tongue down. They may also ask you to pronounce “Ahh”, which helps make some parts of your throat visible.
Once the visual exam is done, our specialist will move on to a physical exam. Physical exams encompass more or the same areas and tissues as the visual exams, but this time, our specialist will be feeling your tissues with their hand. They will feel your cheeks, lips, nose, jaws, throat, oral cavity, and other spots. The touch is meant to feel whether there are any masses or swellings in all these places. As our specialist touches these spots, they will ask you whether there is any discomfort when certain spots are touched.
Additional exams with oral cancer screening equipment are recommended by our specialists if they suspect precancerous lesions from the visual and physical exams. A common device is the Oral CDx, which is a brush that collects cells from different areas of your mouth so that they can be tested. A velscope is an electronic device that produces blue light. Under blue light, abnormal patches in your mouth are visible.
In a deeper examination, our specialists could use a fiber optic camera. The camera has a very soft and flexible cable. You’ll be put under anesthesia and the camera will be guided into your nose, and down the throat. This helps to investigate the pharynx and larynx, which are not accessible visually or physically.
Call Perrinville Family Dentistry at (425) 616-0620 today if you have any oral health concerns. We strongly recommend that you include oral cancer screening in your regular oral health checkups.