Free Oral Cancer Screenings in April

Oral Cancer Screenings

Summit Dental Health is offering free oral cancer screenings during the month of April to promote not only awareness and education, but to also help with early detection. As dentists and hygienists we are trained to look for the signs of oral cancer and to use early detection tactics. Early detection is key.

What is an Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is an examination performed by a dentist or hygienist to look for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in your mouth.

The goal of oral cancer screening is to identify mouth cancer early, when there is a greater chance for a cure.

Most dentists and hygienist perform an examination of your mouth during a routine dental visit to screen for oral cancer. Some dentists and hygienist may use additional tests to aid in identifying areas of abnormal cells in your mouth.

Medical organizations disagree on whether healthy people without risk factors for mouth cancer need oral cancer screening. No single oral exam or oral cancer screening test is proved to reduce the risk of dying of oral cancer. Still, you and your dentist may decide that an oral exam or a special test is right for you based on your risk factors.

Why it’s done

The goal of oral cancer screening is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions that may lead to mouth cancer at an early stage — when cancer or lesions are easiest to remove and most likely to be cured.

But no studies have proved that oral cancer screening saves lives, so not all organizations agree about the benefits of an oral exam for oral cancer screening. Some groups recommend screening, while others don’t.

People with a high risk of oral cancer may be more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening, though studies haven’t clearly proved that. Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:

Risks

Oral exams for oral cancer screening have some limitations, such as:

How you prepare

Oral cancer screening doesn’t require any special preparation. Oral cancer screening is typically performed during a routine dental appointment.

What you can expect during your Oral Cancer Screening

During an oral cancer screening exam, your dentist or hygienist looks over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. Using gloved hands, your dentist or hygienist also feels the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities.

If you wear complete or partial dentures that are removable, your dentist or hygienist will ask you to remove them so that the tissue underneath can be examined.

Additional tests for oral cancer screening

Some dentists use special tests in addition to the oral exam to screen for oral cancer. It’s not clear if these tests offer any additional benefit over the oral exam. Special oral cancer screening tests may involve:

Results

If your dentist discovers any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions, he or she may recommend:

Posted in: General Oral Health

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