At Tran Family Dentistry & Associates, we offer oral cancer screenings to ensure our patients maintain pristine oral and overall health. During your screening, we use cutting-edge technology and techniques to provide a more comfortable and effective exam. Most oral cancer screenings are performed during routine appointments, which usually include a comprehensive exam and a professional cleaning.
Who Benefits from an Oral Cancer Screening?
Patients of all ages, even those with excellent oral health, can benefit from an oral cancer screening. However, we may recommend more frequent screenings if you are at a greater risk for developing cancerous abnormalities. The most common risk factors include:
- Smoking or tobacco use
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- A previous cancer diagnosis
- Significant sun exposure, especially of the lips
Because an oral cancer screening does not require any special preparation or pose any real risk to your oral health, you have nothing to lose by agreeing to a screening. Instead, regular screenings allow us to catch potential problems early on, helping us reduce your risk of major complications. Many of these problems are easier to treat in their earliest stages.
The Screening Procedure
During the screening procedure, Dr. Tran will perform a physical and visual exam of your mouth, your nasal cavity, your neck, and other maxillofacial structures. During the physical portion, we will feel around these tissues for any lumps, swellings, immobility, and abnormalities. During the visual portion, we will check these tissues for red or white discolorations, precancerous lesions, and ulcerations.
Oral cancer symptoms can be painless or tender, depending on the abnormality. Feeling these tissues helps us determine whether or not additional tests are needed. We may also utilize advanced screening devices for a better visual inspection.
After Your Screening
It is important to note that oral cancer screening is solely precautionary, not diagnostic. Your screening is designed to give you peace of mind and does not usually require any additional procedures. If we do discover any abnormalities, one of three things may happen.
We may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment a few weeks later so that we can monitor its development. If it gets bigger or changes shape, we may recommend a biopsy or refer you to a specialist. A biopsy involves testing the cells to get to the bottom of a particular symptom.
Besides being precautionary, your screening is also an excellent opportunity to learn more about your oral health. Be sure to ask questions and voice concerns during your appointment. We believe that patient education is the cornerstone of excellent oral health.
The proper education can help reduce your risk of developing oral cancer and other dental problems. Limiting your alcohol consumption and eliminating tobacco use can significantly improve your oral and overall health. Daily brushing and flossing, proper nutrition, and regular appointments are also an important part of minimizing your risk factors.
Schedule Your Checkup Appointment
If you would like to learn more about our oral cancer screenings, our team is happy to help! Call (206) 212-0394 to schedule your checkup appointment today!