When you turn up at the dentist for an oral check-up, one really important as part of an oral examination check-up is to check for any signs of oral cancer. Any spreading of cancer cells will require immediate treatment, and the only place oral cancer can be treated is at the dentist. You can avoid this by not skipping oral check-ups. Here, we attempt to guide you on how you can detect oral cancer and the steps the dentist would take.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?
Oral cancer can stem from the following causes:
- Consumption of alcohol, smoking and tobacco products
- Diagnosis of oral cancer
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- A weak immune system
If you’re showing signs or symptoms of the following, it can indicate that you have oral cancer:
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
- A red sore or lump in the mouth and lips
- Stiffness when moving the jaw
- White or red patches on the tongue or tonsils
When these unfamiliar signs occur, it is a shoo-in that an appointment with the dentist is required in an emergency. In these situations, it is important to know what to expect in your appointment. So, let’s take a look.
Firstly, the dentist will perform an examination of the mouth to first assess if you’re showing any of the signs above, and then determine how severe it is. The dentist will look at the face, lips and neck to locate signs of abnormal growth of cancer cells or lumps. The dentist will also look inside the mouth with a flashlight as a visual exam.
Once the dentist has performed a visual examination of the mouth, then a physical examination is performed, comprising looking for abnormal signs on the head, cheeks, jaw, and chin. If the dentist feels any lumps, treatment will be considered.
Post Screening Examination
If the dentist identifies any signs or symptoms, the dentist will aim to learn more about your lifestyle and you as a person. For example, the dentist may want to know about the food and drink you consume and whether you look after your teeth gums with a strong oral routine. The results may or may not indicate that you’ve been diagnosed with oral cancer. Although, the results will help to provide any future advice and recommendations from an oral health perspective.
If you need an oral check-up at your local dentist, contact us here and we’d be happy to help.