Every time you visit Dr. Robert Neighbors and Dr. Brian Herod for a dental examination, you can expect to undergo a quick, comfortable oral cancer screening. We check for signs of oral cancer at our Midlothian, VA, office because when caught early, most oral cancers can be treated.
Partner today with a dentist who cares about your oral and overall health. Contact our office for an appointment for you or a family member.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
When performed by a trained hygienist or dentist, a typical oral cancer screening takes very little time to complete. The dental professional will visually examine your mouth for any indicators of potential oral cancer, such as white spots or cysts. Then, using gloved hands, he or she will press lightly at the tissues inside your mouth, including your tongue.
Generally performed before routine dental cleanings, most patients feel very comfortable during their oral cancer screenings. If the dentist or hygienist notices an abnormality, you may be asked to undergo other in-office tests, or contact your family physician or local oncologist.
Common Signs of Oral Cancer
What indicators do dental providers look for when examining the mouth for signs of oral cancer? The following items are frequently present, although they cannot definitively indicate oral cancer without further investigation and testing:
- Patches of thick, discolored skin
- White patches that may or may not bleed when touched
- Areas of the mouth that do not respond to sensation
- Swollen areas of the mouth
- Open sores along the tongue, lips, cheeks, palate, etc.
Reduce Your Risk for Oral Cancer
Although some oral cancers happen regardless of patient habits, you can lower your chances of developing the disease. For instance, if you are a smoker or you chew tobacco, you should stop using any nicotine products. Talk to your dentist or hygienist about other ways to minimize your likelihood of developing oral cancer.
Make sure you are as healthy as possible by undergoing an oral cancer screening soon. Work with us to arrange a preventive dental exam. Together, we will stay on top of any changes in your oral health.