Regular dental checkups are an essential part of maintaining your oral health — and they’re not only about checking for cavities and gum disease. When you visit Newtown Dentistry for a regular dental checkup, an oral cancer screening is part of the exam. Because early detection is crucial to treatment, our dentists check for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions.
How a Screening Test is Performed
Oral cancer screenings only take a few minutes, and are done as part of a normal dental visit.To begin, the dentist will perform an oral exam to check for red or white patches and sores inside your mouth. They’ll also feel the inside of your mouth, tongue, neck, and throat for any lumps or other abnormalities.At Newtown Dentistry, our dentists go one step further to ensure a thorough screening, using the Oral ID device.
About the Oral ID Device for Oral Exams
The Oral ID tool used at Newtown Dentistry is a small, handheld, battery-operated light that allows the dentist to screen for oral cancer inside the mouth. The device admits a blue light into the oral cavity that uses fluorescence to indicate abnormal tissue.When the dentist shines the light into your mouth, normal tissue will appear green. Abnormal tissue that needs additional examination and testing will appear dark under the light. Oral ID makes oral cancer screenings fast and accurate, without needing to use dyes or special rinses to highlight potentially abnormal tissue.
In most cases, regular oral exams and screening tests do not reveal any cause for concern.If, however, the screening does reveal signs of oral cancer, the dentist will recommend follow-up care. This could be a “wait and see” approach, with a visit in a few weeks to check whether the possibly abnormal tissue is still present. In other cases, the dentist may perform additional tests or refer you to a physician for a biopsy and further treatment.
What Are The Signs of Oral Cancer?
Although you will be screened for signs of oral cancer during your appointments at Newtown Dentistry, signs and symptoms may show up in between appointments. If you notice any of the following changes in your mouth, make an appointment to see the dentist. Many of these symptoms can be caused by other diseases, so it’s important to have them checked out as soon as possible.Potential signs of a mouth disease include:
- Red or white patches on the tongue, tonsils, gums or inside of the mouth
- Mouth or lip sores that do not go away
- Thick areas or bumps on the lips, tongue, or inside your mouth
- Persistent pain or swelling in the mouth or jaw
- Lump or mass in the throat or neck
- Trouble swallowing, or the feeling that something is caught in your throat
- Numbness in the lips, tongue, or mouth, or trouble moving your jaw or mouth
- Voice changes
Again, these symptoms can also be related to other conditions, so don’t wait until your next dental appointment to address concerns.
Make An Appointment Today
If you need a dental checkup and oral cancer screening, make an appointment online or call Newtown Dentistry at (215) 774-5193.