What is Oral Cancer Screening, Its Importance, Procedure & Benefits?

What is Oral Cancer Screening, Its Importance, Procedure & Benefits?

Jul 01, 2023

Dental professionals always remind their patients to have regular dental checkups and cleanings. The procedures are important because they help achieve and maintain excellent oral health. One of the procedures performed during the exam is oral cancer screening. Read on to learn more about oral cancer screening.

What is Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is an exam of the mouth performed to look for symptoms of cancer. It is performed by a dentist during routine dental checkups every six months. The goal of the procedure is to identify mouth cancer early when it is more curable. The dentist examines the lips, gums, tongue, cheek lining, neck, tonsils, and palate.

Why Do You Need Oral Cancer Screening?

Our Huntington dentist recommends oral cancer screening for patients above 18 years old. They recommend the procedure for various reasons, including the ones below:

  • The process enables early detection of oral cancer. This increases the chances of getting cured completely, which may be impossible if the disease is advanced.
  • The dentist can help you determine your risk factors concerning oral cancer. People with a high risk of this cancer include those who smoke, drink alcohol heavily and have STIs. Those with a previous cancer diagnosis or a family history of cancer are also at risk.
  • Oral cancer screening helps prevent mouth cancer. Your dentist will advise you on how you can prevent the cancer. For example, they may ask you to change your lifestyle habits.
  • Regular exams enable the expert to detect symptoms of oral cancer before they worsen. Therefore, you will avoid discomfort and disfigurement due to the disease.

What is the Procedure for Getting Oral Cancer Screening?

Oral cancer screening is a quick and painless procedure. Here is what to expect during oral cancer screening:

  1. Our dentist in Huntington, NY will begin by reviewing your medical history. They will also ask about any conditions and medications you may be using. In addition, they will ask questions about your lifestyle to assess your risk for oral cancer.
  2. Your dentist will look inside your mouth and neck for signs of cancer. The visual exam helps them detect abnormal tissues that can indicate oral cancer. They include red or thick white patches or mouth sores.
  3. The dentist will use gloved hands to feel the tissues in your mouth, neck, and jaw. The process is known as palpation. It helps check for lumps and bumps, and soreness that can indicate cancerous cells.
  4. If the dentist detects symptoms of cancer or precancerous tissues, they will do further diagnoses. They will use oral cancer screening light and dye to identify the abnormal tissues.
  5. Then they will collect the cells that look cancerous and examine them under a microscope. The process is called Cytology.
  6. Finally, they may do a biopsy to verify that the tissues are cancerous and determine the stage of cancer. If you have oral cancer, they will perform the treatment or refer you to a cancer specialist.

What are the Benefits of Getting Oral Cancer Screening?

Visiting the dentist regularly for oral cancer screening has numerous advantages. Below are some benefits you are assured of when you get oral cancer screening:

  1. Screening for oral cancer leads to early detection of the disease. If present, the dentist will provide treatment when the cancer is in its initial stages. As a result, the cancerous tumors are removed, curing the disease completely.
  2. The oral cancer screening process is fast and painless. It takes only a few minutes, and you will not require any anesthetics or sedatives during the screening.
  3. No special preparation is necessary before the screening. You can eat and drink as usual. In addition, you can resume your regular schedule immediately after the process.
  4. If cancerous cells are detected the dentist will begin treatment immediately. This reduces the risk of disfigurement and extended hospital stay.
  5. Treatment after early diagnosis is less costly compared to treating advanced oral cancer. So, screening saves you money.
  6. The procedure is convenient since it is done during your regular dental checkups.

Get Oral Cancer Screening Near You

Most people fear cancers because of the high fatality rates. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of fatality from oral cancer by getting oral cancer screening. If you are looking to get oral cancer screening near Huntington Station, give us a call or schedule an appointment at Smile Huntington for a safe, quick, and pain-free oral cancer screening in Huntington, NY!