Worried about oral cancer? Just visit us at Rejuvenate Dental Arts in Bethel and we’ll help answer all of your questions. Cancer isn’t common, but it’s not a rare condition either. Screenings are set in place to diagnose cancer in different parts of the body early before it starts manifesting.
Here at Rejuvenate Dental Arts, we highly value oral cancer screenings which are recommended everywhere. During your regular visits to our office, part of our examination of your oral cavity includes cancer screening.
Examination in medicine and dentistry consists of two parts. First, you see what’s in front of you and observe for any abnormalities. The second part is to start using your hands to feel for irregularities and confirm the findings you saw.
With the help of external light, we carefully examine all parts of your mouth. This includes your lips, tongue, teeth, gums, and the back of your throat. We look for ulcers, bumps, or areas that are discolored. Discoloration like red and white patches is something that often requires further assessment.
Next, we start using our hands to feel for any lumps or irregularities. This includes insinuating our hands gently beneath your tongue and to the sides of your teeth. We may also examine the bottom of your jaw from outside to check for enlarged lymph nodes. None of this should be painful and the entire screening should take less than 5 minutes.
Keep in mind that not all abnormalities equal cancer. Patients might have completely benign aphthous ulcers which come and go without consequences. Other ulcers we may find include those associated with Systemic Lupus.
When and if something is found, we have two courses of action. The first is to wait and see. We’ll ask you to come back for another visit in 2 weeks so we can check if the lesion is still there or not. The second option is to take a biopsy of the lesion and send it to the lab so they can see and assess it under the microscope. Cancer can only be diagnosed with a biopsy and anyone who definitively tells you that you have cancer just by looking would be incorrect.