Teeth Whitening

Oral Cancer Screenings: Why They Matter and What To Expect

Dive into the world of oral cancer screenings and learn how they help you take care of your oral health in a better way.

A black and white sign board with You Are Strong Stop Cancer written on them

Oral cancer screening is something to be taken seriously since it can help save your life. Early detection is your best chance of surviving. An oral surgeon will check for abnormalities in your oral cavity, throat, and neck. This routine examination can be performed in a matter of minutes during your regular check-up. Any signs of alarm can be dealt with through a variety of treatments. The sooner something is discovered, the higher your chances for a full recovery.  

You Are Not Alone

Oral cancer incidents have become more prominent though it is unclear why. Getting tested for this disease is easy so if you have any concerns at all, speak with your dentist at your next appointment and get a thorough examination to check for this issue.

Did You Know?

  • Constant Watch – Most dentists screen for oral cancer during routine dental check-ups, making regular appointments even more important. A visit to the dentist does more than keep plaque and tartar away.
  • Different Types – There is more than one type of oral cancer, and it can be difficult to detect each type. It is important to have any abnormality tested especially if you are at high risk.
  • Many Spots – Oral cancer signs can appear in many locations in your mouth from your tongue to your cheek or gums, and the back of your throat.

Signs to Watch Out For

If you notice red or white bumps, rough patches, or hard bumps inside your mouth it is vital to be checked for oral cancer. While many abnormalities may turn out to be of little concern, getting checked right away can help save your life in the event of oral cancer cells developing. Be on the lookout for any lumps in your neck or throat that are unusual or have appeared recently.

High Risk Category

Though anyone can get oral cancer, certain factors increase your risk:

  • Tobacco Use
  • Heavy alcoholic drinking
  • Previous diagnosis of oral cancer
A person holding a piece of paper with a tongue cut out of it

Prevention to Make a Difference

Cut down or eliminate tobacco use and excess drinking to help prevent oral cancer from developing in your mouth. Additionally, going to the dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups helps keep your mouth clean and healthy, aiding in the prevention of oral cancer. It is also beneficial to have a healthy, well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening

The process for oral cancer screening is quick, painless, and requires no preparation on your end. Your dentist will check your mouth for red or white patches and look for sores. He/she will feel around for tissue abnormalities including lumps inside your mouth. Your throat and neck may be checked for bumps as well.

Sometimes, a dentist may use additional testing such as oral cancer screening dye and a special light. The dye is swashed around in your mouth making any abnormal cells appear blue. The light makes unusual tissues appear white so they can be further investigated. These extra tests may help your dentist determine whether your mouth requires further investigation for potential problems.  

If a cancerous legion is found during an oral cancer screening in SW Calgary, your dentist will do one of these two things:

1. Ask You to Come Back – Depending on the severity of your situation and if your dentist believes there is a possibility of oral cancer, he/she will request a follow-up booking a few weeks later. During the subsequent visit, you will be checked to see if the lesion is still there and if it has changed at all. 

2. Biopsy – A sample of cells will be taken from your mouth for testing. This will determine whether your abnormalities are cancerous or not. An oral surgeon may do this himself or refer you to a doctor specializing in oral cancer.

Either way, once you have further, conclusive information you can feel at ease.

Getting Checked

Getting checked for oral cancer is beneficial because you might not be able to recognize it on your own. Cancer cells can appear without any pain and go unnoticed for months. At Glenbrook Dental, we understand that oral cancer can be scary, but you can be confident we will help find a solution that you are most comfortable with. You can count on us to be your friendly dentist and complete a thorough check for this and other oral health concerns.