Do Dentists Treat Oral Cancer? How Accurate Is Oral Cancer Screening?

Do Dentists Treat Oral Cancer? How Accurate Is Oral Cancer Screening?

April 1, 2022

Oral cancer looks like a sore or growth in the mouth that doesn’t go away. Oral cancer can be cancers of the lips, cheeks, tongue, sinuses, hard and soft palate, throat (can be life-threatening if not detected and treated early), and floor of the mouth.

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Some common symptoms patients with oral cancer experience include:

  • Thickenings/swellings, bumps or lumps, eroded areas or rough spots on the gums, cheek, lips, or other in the mouth
  • Speckled (white and red), red, or velvety white patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness or tenderness/pain in any part of the mouth, neck, or face
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing, moving the tongue or jaw, or speaking
  • Ear pain
  • Chronic sore throat
  • Dramatic weight loss

What is Oral Cancer Screening?

Mouth cancer screening is an examination that a dentist performs to check for signs of cancer or precancerous conditions in the mouth.

It is important because it helps detect mouth cancer at its early stages when there are high chances of curing it.

Most dentists examine the mouth during a routine dental checkup to screen for oral cancer. In addition, some dentists may give you more tests to help identify areas in the mouth with abnormal cells.

How Accurate is Oral Cancer Screening?

Mouth cancer screening is effective and helps to find cancer early. However, it can be hard to find areas with abnormal cells in the mouth by just looking, so there is a possibility that a precancerous lesion or small cancer could go undetected.

When Does One Need Oral Cancer Screening?

It’s important for people at a high risk of getting oral cancer to go for oral cancer screening in San Clemente. Here are several factors that can increase your chances for mouth cancer:

  • Individuals who smoke cigars, cigarettes, or pipe are more likely to get oral cancer than those who don’t smoke.
  • Smokeless tobacco use. Chewing, snuffing, or dipping tobacco products can lead to cancers of the gums, lining of the lips, and cheek.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Excessive sun exposure, especially at an early age. Ultraviolet radiation caused by the sun can lead to lip cancer.
  • Contracting a certain type of human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Being male
  • A previous oral cancer diagnosis

All adults should go for mouth cancer screening at least once a year. However, it would be wise for individuals with such risk factors to get screened even more frequently than once or twice a year.

Do you want an oral cancer screening? Then, schedule an appointment with Seascape Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry Today.

Procedure Involved in Oral Cancer Screening Test

Mouth cancer screenings involve two main aspects: a visual and a physical exam.

Visual exam

Before the screening, make sure you take out any removable dental appliances (such as dentures) if you have any. That helps the dentist to examine the entire mouth.

Your dental professional will look for swellings, asymmetries, ulcerations, patches of color, bumps, or other abnormalities. They will also observe your neck, face, lips, cheeks, jaw, oral cavity, inside of your nose, and other significant parts for oral cancer screening.

Your dentist in San Clemente will use a light and mirror to take a look inside your mouth. Then, a tongue depressor holds your tongue down while looking at the back of your mouth.

Physical exam

Apart from a visual exam, your dentist will touch your mouth, neck, and face to feel unusual masses or nodules. Touch is essential for your dental professional to discover cancer-causing abnormalities in the mouth.

A tactile inspection aids the dentist in finding any hard tissue lumps.

Mouth cancer symptoms can be painful at times, but usually, at its early stages, the symptoms are painless. This makes it even more important for a dentist to screen for it regularly.

Do Dentists Treat Oral Cancer?

The dentist can recommend a series of treatments depending on the location of the tumor or lesion and the cancer stage. Some of the treatment options may include radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy.

The dentist will work together with an oncologist and an oral surgeon to coordinate treatment for oral cancer.

The first step is to remove the oral cancerous tumor. The patient will then receive radiation and chemotherapy if required.