At StarBrite Dental we perform oral cancer screenings as part of your routine dental hygiene visits. As oral cancer is the sixth most common of all cancers, we take it pretty seriously because we know that if we are able to catch oral cancer early enough, chances for survival increase dramatically. And we know the best way to catch it early is for you to visit your dentist regularly for oral examinations.
An oral cancer exam only takes a few minutes and is performed during your regular dental hygiene appointment.
Here's what to expect:
Your dentist will inspect your face, neck, lips and mouth to look for any signs of cancer.
With both hands, the dentist will feel the area under your jaw and the side of your neck, checking for lumps that may suggest cancer.
She will then look at and feel the insides of your lips and cheeks to check for possible signs of cancer, such as red and/or white patches.
Next, you will be asked to stick out your tongue so it can be checked for swelling or abnormal color or texture.
Using gauze, the dentist will then gently pull your tongue to one side, then the other, to check the base of your tongue. The underside of your tongue will also be checked.
The roof and floor of your mouth, as well as the back of your throat, will also be examined.
Finally, your dentist will put one finger on the floor of your mouth and, with the other hand under your chin, gently press down to check for lumps or sensitivity.
How do you reduce the risk for developing oral cancer?
You and your dentist should discuss lifestyle strategies that can lower your risks for developing oral cancer. Your dentist is trained to counsel you on the types of oral health issues than can arise from smoking, the use of other tobacco products, heavy alcohol or recreational drug use and inadequate nutrition. Your dentist will encourage you in your efforts to develop a healthy lifestyle. If you are due for your next exam, please call the office today to schedule your appointment: (301) 770-1070.