Regular dental check-ups involve pre-examinations to assess the state of your oral health. As part of this examination, the dentist also looks for one important sign, oral cancer. Oral cancer can be considered as the first line of defence for dentists when they perform an oral examination to determine whether immediate treatment is required to contain cancer cells. Detection of oral cancer is not something that can be detected at home. Therefore, visiting the dentist for oral cancer screenings is an essential part of your oral health journey.
Oral Cancer Causes
It is thought that the causes of oral cancer can stem from the following:
- Consuming all kinds of alcohol, smoking and tobacco products
- Early diagnosis of oral cancer
- Excessive exposure to the sun
- A weak immune system
Oral Cancer Symptoms
If you show signs of the following symptoms, it is likely 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.
What You Should Expect
- Pre-Inspection Of Your Mouth – The dentist will first perform an inspection or examination of the mouth to determine the severity of the symptoms. The dentist will also look at the face, lips and neck. This is to see where there are signs of abnormal growth. A dentist may use a flashlight to see inside of the mouth. This is what is known as a visual exam.
- A Physical Examination – After the visual exam, the dentist will then perform a physical exam. This consists of the dentist touching and lifting the head, cheeks, chin, jaw and the oral cavity to detect any unusual lumps. The dentist knows what to look for. Therefore, you’re in safe hands once the exam takes place.
- After The Screening Examination – Once the oral cancer screening examination is complete, the dentist will then take the necessary action depending on the symptoms identified. The dentist will begin to understand your lifestyle and whether you consume alcohol and smoke. The dentist may also request you to return regularly for a short-term period for further cancer screening, particularly if the signs show that caution needs to be taken. The dentist will obtain the results, and this does not necessarily mean it is a cancer diagnosis.
Ensure that during the oral cancer screening, that you ask the dentist as many questions as possible. Dentists are here to help to ensure that your oral health is in optimum condition. Maintain regular brushing and flossing, eat calcium-rich foods that help to keep oral health strong and ensure regular appointments with the dentist.
Are you experiencing symptoms of oral cancer? At Vineyard Dental, our specialist dentists will ensure that immediate action is taken to relieve you of any cancer symptoms to make way for positive oral health. Contact us here and book an appointment or speak to one of our specialists.