Preventative checkups like oral cancer exams are key to early detection and rapid treatment. Oral cancer presents many different symptoms, including sores that won’t heal, patches of discoloration, growth or lumps, pain, or difficulty swallowing. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your dentist for a potentially life-saving assessment. Here’s what you need to know about this service.
A Guide to Oral Cancer Screenings
What Happens During Oral Cancer Exams?
These procedures are fast, effective, harmless, and noninvasive. After taking your patient history and learning more about personal risk factors like your smoking and drinking habits, your dentist will conduct a careful visual and physical exam of your palate, cheeks, lips, mouth, and throat. The purpose of this exam is to check for lesions, nodules, or areas of thickened skin, which could indicate the presence of cancer. If issues are discovered during the exam, dentists may use special dyes to detect unusual tissues inside the mouth, or collect small tissue samples to send in to inspect cellular pathology.
How Do Screenings Help?
While the evaluation only takes a few minutes, it’s a valuable way for dentists and patients to discover the condition in its earliest stages, which can help to increase your chances of beating the disease. In fact, if discovered in its early stages, the 5-year survival rate for oral cancer is 84%, a number that decreases to 64% if the cancer spreads.
Screenings are especially important for people with several risk factors for oral cancer development, such as smokers, heavy drinkers, a family history of the condition, or people who have tested positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).
Whether you’ve noticed potential symptoms or you’ve recently quit smoking and need to get your oral health back on track, turn to Nayaug Family Dental in South Glastonbury, CT. With a focus on supporting oral health by promoting preventative dentistry, these professionals are dedicated to creating an excellent patient experience. For personalized, high-quality dental care and oral cancer exams, visit their website or give their office a call at (860) 633-6167.