Most of us know the basics of maintaining our oral health. Brush and floss regularly. Use mouthwash to kill germs and bacteria. Watch what we eat and drink and visit the dentist regularly to get exams and cleanings as well. While all of these things are the key to good oral health, some things are often overlooked.
One of the most important reasons to see your dentist is to get a routine oral cancer screening. We often don’t even like to think about cancer, especially not when it comes to our mouths. It’s a good idea to visit a dentist near you like Vega Dental to get the oral cancer screening you need to keep yourself protected.
Unlike routine exams, an oral cancer screening is a specialized procedure our dentist will perform if requested.
Typically, an oral cancer screening begins with the patient’s medical history to determine if any risk factors may put them at higher risk for oral cancer, such as family history or smoking.
Once this is done, the process then moves on to the actual screening. This is done by the dentist performing a visual examination of the patient’s mouth. Using light to help illuminate the mouth, gums, teeth, and tongue, the dentist will visually check for any spots of discoloration, abscesses, signs of swelling, or lumps.
The dentist may also physically check the throat and neck for any signs of growths or swelling. If nothing is found during either portion of the screening, the patient is free to go home until their next routine visit.
However, if signs of cancer are present, the dentist may take a biopsy sent off to a lab for further tests and schedule a follow-up visit to determine the next steps.
While no one wants to deal with cancer, preventative screenings are the best way to catch it early enough that it can be dealt with before becoming a serious issue.
Though oral cancer is often overlooked, it’s important to be vigilant and prevent something bad from happening by contacting Vega Dental and setting up a routine oral cancer screening right away.