One reason why regular dental visits are important to your oral health is because they give your dentist a chance to catch oral diseases or conditions in their early stages. Unlike health problems in other areas of the body, dental conditions do not present obvious symptoms until they have reached a more advanced stage when they are more challenging to treat. One disease that is best caught and treated early is oral cancer. At Shiny Smile Dental in Houston, part of your dental checkup will consist of an oral cancer screening.
Oral cancer includes not just cancer in the mouth, such as the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, and hard and soft palates, but it also includes the sinuses and phalanx (throat). Everyone has a risk of developing oral cancer, not just those who smoke or use tobacco. A family history of cancer is also a factor.
Oral cancer does not always present symptoms, but some signs to look out for include:
An oral cancer screening near you is a simple evaluation. First, your dentist will take a look over the inside of your mouth to check for white or red patches as well as mouth sores. If dentures or a removable bridge are worn, they will have to be removed for the screening. Your dentist will also feel the tissues in the mouth (using gloved hands) to detect lumps or other abnormalities.
An additional test of an oral cancer screening can also be performed. This test consists of swishing with a special rinse. After doing so, any problem areas and abnormalities in the mouth will appear darker than healthy ones when a special light is shone on them. If there are any worrisome areas that appear, your dentist may recommend a biopsy or follow-up appointment.
Be sure to keep up with your regular dental visits twice a year. The team at Shiny Smile Dental is dedicated to maintaining your oral health in Houston. Call now to schedule with our oral cancer screening dentist near Stafford, Sugar Land, Bellaire, Alief, Missouri City, Barker, Katy, Fulshear, and Richmond, TX.