Regular dental exams are important because many oral diseases do not present symptoms until they have reached a more advanced stage and can only be detected by your dentist during routine appointments. One such condition is oral cancer, which can be life-threatening if it is not detected and treated in its early stages. This condition includes cancers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, hard and soft palates, sinuses, and phalanx (throat). Tobacco use, smoking, and a family history of cancer are all risk factors for oral cancer, but any individual can develop it.
Though it can go undetected, oral cancer can present some particular symptoms, such as:
Your dentist usually performs an oral cancer screening at DFW Crown Dental during a routine dental visit. The examination looks for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth. It will start with a look over the inside of the mouth to check for white or red patches or mouth sores. If dentures are worn (whether partial or full), you will need to remove them for the exam. Your dentist will then feel the tissues of the mouth with gloved hands to look for lumps or other abnormalities.
For a more thorough look at the tissues of the mouth, another test can be performed which involves a special rinse that reacts to a specific kind of light. After swishing the rinse in the mouth, problem areas and abnormalities will appear darker than healthy ones in reaction to the light. If any problems are detected or suspected, a follow-up visit will likely be recommended. A biopsy may be performed to determine whether or not the areas of concern are cancerous.
To ensure your oral health, make sure to keep regular appointments at DFW Crown Dental in Dallas to be screened for oral cancer.