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Things We Look for in an Oral Cancer Screening


Posted on 9/15/2019 by Dr. James A. Krippaehne
Things We Look for in an Oral Cancer ScreeningWhen you attend your six-month checkup, we will check your mouth for cavities, tooth decay, signs of gum disease and signs of cancer. During these checkups, finding any cancer can be lifesaving. An average of 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with some form of oral cancer. Nearly 10,000 will die from it each year. That is one person per hour each day.

Tests Done to Confirm Cancer


When an exam begins your dentist will ask you if you are using tobacco products or any of the new vaping products. If you had any changes in your voice or problems when you swallow. Do you have any lumps or swelling in your head or neck area.The physical exam will include feeling around your temples down the neck to the top of your clavicle bone. They will check around the inside of your mouth. Just like seen in the movies, a tongue depressor will be applied to see further into your mouth and throat. If there are any type of red and/or white spots, sores, or lumps that haven't healed in 7-10 days a biopsy with recommended.

What Does the Dentist Look For


There are almost a dozen tests that can be used to spot cancer. Here are the most common. An oral brush biopsy is when the dentist uses a small brush to gather cell samples of the area in question, they are sent to a lab to be checked. A surgical biopsy involves taking a tiny needle and removing a small number of cells from the area in question. They are sent to a pathologist to be tested. An HPV test will be done with the cells due to being linked to oral cancer. Knowing if a person has HPV can let us know what stage the cancer is in. Endoscopy is when a small camera with light goes in your nose, mouth, and down into your throat to look for irregularities.

If you experience anything in the areas we have written about, it is important to seek medical attention. It can save your life. You may simply have something small and irregular. Our office is available if you have concerns about your oral health. When in doubt, please reach out.
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