When you last visited our office for your regular cleaning, you likely received an oral cancer screening. Many of our patients may not know or understand what an oral cancer screening is, or why we perform them. The oral cancer screening is a visual and physical exam of the oral cavity and connected tissues to identify any early signs of oral cancer. Whether or not you are at risk, it is common procedure for one of our dental professionals to perform these 10 second screenings at your regular dental cleaning visit.
The reason that oral cancer screenings are standard procedure is that there is a significant advantage to catching oral cancer before symptoms begin to show, and it is a brief and simple check that is extremely effective in identifying oral cancer in its early stages.
When performing the brief exam, one of our dental professionals will examine your face, neck, lips, and nose area for any asymmetries, bumps, discoloration, or other abnormalities. A brief physical exam will follow to ensure the mouth, cheeks, jaw and neck area are free of nodules or irregularities, which may be a cause for concern.
As this is a precautionary measure, not a diagnostic measure, any causes for concern may simply initiate a request for further screening at regular intervals or follow-up, especially if you engage in lifestyle practices such as tobacco or alcohol use that may increase your risk level.
The Oral Cancer Foundation has initiated a campaign this year called “Check Your Mouth,” which encourages individuals to also perform at-home oral cancer screenings in between dental visits. If you are at high risk for oral cancer, you are especially encouraged to visit www.checkyourmouth.org for a simple how-to video on self-screening to get you started.
We at River Valley Smiles care about your overall oral well-being and will partner with you to ensure you remain in the best health possible under our care. If you have any questions or concerns at any time about any oral health issue, we would be glad to discuss them with you to ensure they are properly addressed. Call us today to set up your next appointment, or visit our site to request an appointment online: http://www.rivervalleysmiles.com/contact-us/.