Oral Cancer Screenings
Coming in to Covington Family Dental for an oral cancer screening may be something you are not looking forward to, but we will always do our best to ensure that you are as well cared for as possible. We are always on the lookout for any potential signs of oral cancer because it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when it is caught early. Many people have signs of oral cancer, but dismiss it as something else, so we are always extra-vigilant for our patients. We want to help you stay as healthy as possible.
Who Is Most At Risk for Oral Cancer?
Many people are at risk for oral cancer and are not even aware of it. This includes the obvious, such as smokers and drinkers. However, it also includes some people that may not be as obvious, such as women, particularly those over 45 years old. Age and gender increases risks, as does system health issues like immune problems. People who do not get issues in their mouths taken care of right away could also be increasing their risk of developing a problem down the line, including oral cancer.
What Is an Oral Cancer Screening Exactly?
In simple terms, an oral cancer screening is us taking a really good look around your mouth. We can perform these screenings during your regular dental exam. We want to make sure everything looks right, feels right, and does not have any issues that have not previously been treated or remedied. What we are looking for is anything out of the ordinary. For example, is there a cut or a sore somewhere in your mouth that you thought was from something you ate, but it doesn’t seem to be going away? This could be early oral cancer in some rare instances, so it is best for us to take a look.
We are also looking for lumps or strange textures in your mouth. Did your cheek tissue get thicker or leathery in one area? That is something we would want to take a look at. The same thing goes if you have a lump that does not go away after a week or two. Yes, your mouth is always changing, and there are times where it may be lumpy or bumpy. It is when those lumps and bumps stick around that we want to take a look.
Another thing we are looking for is if any area of your mouth has changed color. This is not something you would necessarily be able to see. If we notice that one area has changed color, this could signify that something is going on in that tissue.
What Happens if We Notice Something During the Oral Cancer Screening?
If we notice a problem during the oral cancer screening, we often take a small tissue sample and get it tested. Remember, the earlier we can catch an oral cancer issue, the more likely we are going to be able to help you treat it. We will work with an oncologist to ensure that your treatment goes as smoothly as possible, if the biopsy results come back as malignant.
To find out more about oral cancer screenings or to schedule one, call us here at Covington Family Dental. Our number is 253.499.6155 and we are ready to help whenever you need.