Oral Cancer Screenings in Kennewick, WA
Regular check-ups and visits to the dentist have many advantages. Naturally, checking for issues with your teeth in addition to cleaning them is the most obvious perk. That doesn’t mean it’s the only or most important one though. Screening for oral cancer is something we highly value here at A Family Dental Center in Kennewick.
A fair share of cancer is detected through screening because they start as silent. Screening helps us detect cancer at an early stage before it starts bothering the patient and manifesting in the form of symptoms.
Cancer Type and Location
The most common cancer affecting your oral cavity is known as squamous cell carcinoma. This is a diagnosis that can only be made under the microscope. If we find a suspicious lesion here at A Family Dental Center, we’ll take a biopsy and send it for pathologic evaluation.
Oral cancer can affect many organs. People can get cancer in their tongue, lip, palate, jaw, and throat. Since cancer can affect several parts of the oral cavity, a thorough examination is necessary.
Screening for Oral Cancer
There are no special tools that are used in screening for oral cancer. After all, the oral cavity is right in front of us and we can just see and examine it. It’s of the utmost importance to have an adequate source of light to allow us to visualize the oral cavity properly.
We usually look for areas of unusual red or white spots. These could be completely benign or they might be precancerous lesions. To see these spots and differentiate them from normal tissue, we may use air to dry your mucosa. This is only temporary and you won’t feel any discomfort.
Not all parts of your oral cavity are visible to us. We might need to insert our fingers gently around your teeth or under your tongue to feel for any masses. This might be a little uncomfortable but it’s not painful. If we suspect anything might be painful for you, we’ll use anesthetic spray. So you won’t even need local anesthesia in the form of an injection.