You may associate your twice-yearly dental checkup with x-rays and teeth cleaning, but what about an oral cancer screening? According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, regular checkups that include screening for oral cancer can save lives. That’s why at GPS Dentistry, we include oral cancer screenings during regular checkups. Here are some important things to know about oral cancer and screenings.
We Observe and Inspect
During your dental exam, the dentist will be observing the entire area inside your mouth including, tongue, gums, and inside of your cheeks. Some things we look for include:
- Red or white patches
- Lumps or thick, hard spots
- Crusty areas
- Bleeding sores or sores that aren’t healing properly
How Does an Oral Cancer Screening Work?
At GPS Dentistry, we use Oral ID™ technology. Oral ID™ uses a proven, optically based technology called “fluorescence technology.” The doctor uses a blue light that allows him to identify oral cancer, pre-cancer, and other abnormal lesions. When the blue light from Oral ID™ shines on healthy oral tissue, it fluoresces green. However, when it shines on abnormal tissue, it appears dark due to a lack of fluorescence. Wearing the special Oral ID™ eyewear enhances the visual effects of the blue light during the oral exam allowing the doctor to identify any suspicious areas at an earlier stage, thus saving lives. It’s absolutely painless for our patients.
Share Information with Your Dentist
What sort of things should you inform your dentist about at checkups?
- Any sores or lesions that have lasted for over two weeks
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain or difficulty moving your jaw
- Tongue numbness
These symptoms don’t mean you have oral cancer, but as potential early symptoms, it’s important to let your dentist know if you’ve been experiencing them and for how long.
We Will Watch Areas of Concern
Dr. Skrobanek is not going to diagnosis you with oral cancer simply because he sees areas of concern. Typically, any questionable areas will be re-checked in a few weeks to see if they’ve changed or gone away. If the doctor still has concerns after a re-check, he will discuss further assessment options.
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Oral cancer screenings are just another way to catch anything abnormal early on. An oral cancer screening probably isn’t at the top of your things-to-do list, however, regular screenings along with your dental checkup will help keep you and your smile happy and healthy.
Contact us online at GPS Dental or call us at (210) 633-3477 to schedule your next dental appointment!