Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are often performed during routine dental appointments. During an oral cancer screening exam, your dentist will check the inside of your mouth for any red or white patches or mouth sores. Using gloves, they will also feel the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities. They may also examine your throat and neck for lumps.
In addition to your oral exam, some dentists also use other methods of screening for oral cancer. Such methods include:
- screening dye - A dentist will rinse your mouth with a special blue dye before an exam. Abnormal cells will absorbe the dye and appear blue.
- screening light - A dentist will shine a light into your mouth. Healthy tissu will appear dark and abnormal tissue will appear white.
If your dentist discovers and signs of mouth cancer, or an precancerous lesions, they may recommend the following actions:
- A follow up visit within a few weeks to see if the abnormal tissue is still present
- A biopsy procedure to remove a sample for lab testing. Your dentist may perform this procedure or you can ask to be referred to a doctor that specializes in oral cancer diagnosis.
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