Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer screenings are a vital general dentistry service to inform patients about the actual status of their dental health, particularly if they are anxious about certain symptoms and signs that they may have felt or observed regarding their oral cavity, throat, head, and neck.
The Napa Valley Dental Group in Napa, CA offers oral cancer screenings to patients, upon the recommendation of their dentist, to set their mind and emotions at ease, and to plan for further dental therapy as may be needed.
The Nature of the Screening
Oral cancer screenings can be done within five minutes. Even during a short visit, your dentist can gather a lot of information through a comprehensive visual and manual (palpation) examination. Additional time may be required on a case-to-case basis.
Cancer may be the cause of any changes in facial asymmetry, and other possible symptoms such as facial paralysis, unusual patches or growths on the lips, tongue, gums, and throat, dizzy spells, unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, difficulty in swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes.
Screening before symptoms appear can massively help a patient who is nervous about the possibility of having cancer, to regain mental and emotional equilibrium.
How Your Dentist Does the Screening
To perform an oral cancer screening, your dentist will have to take your medical and dental history first. This will include an evaluation of your lifestyle habits such as smoking can encourage the development of malignant growths in your oral cavity or its nearby areas such as the head or the neck.
Some instances of cancer may be related to certain medical threats or conditions such as human papillomavirus (HPV). In some cases, cancer may become present in a person because of a genetic predisposition.
Your dentist, while making the screening, will consider all of these possibilities. After the visual observation has been completed, the 2nd part of the testing begins. This involves a manual examination or palpation.
Palpation is when your dentist carefully but comprehensively runs his hands over your neck, mouth area, face, head, and areas where your lymph nodes are found, to determine if any lumps or abnormal growths exist.
Should your dentist find anything unusual, additional screening may be recommended. Your dentist will confer or discuss your situation with a medical health professional. If cancer has been ruled out, your dentist will proceed to address any issues encountered during the screening.