Oral cancer, mouth cancer, oral cavity cancer…no matter what you call it, it’s nothing to be taken lightly. America sees around 50,000 cases a year on average, and many of them result in death. Oral screenings exist to spot warning signs early on for a better chance to be treated before it’s too late. Thankfully, many dentists in the Diamond Bar and Pomona area are able to perform accurate oral cancer screenings to help you stay proactive in fighting off cancer while it’s still possible. But first, it helps to learn what to expect.

How Does Oral Cancer Happen?

To be specific, mutations among cells found in the mouth and throat can develop into more serious conditions and bring about oral cancer. This is especially the case in those who regularly drink and smoke or who have an existing family history of cancer. And to be fair, oral cancer isn’t something that just shows up overnight. It’s the result of not being discovered until the symptoms have progressed past the point of no return. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly easy to overlook the signs as they’re not incredibly apparent. You can go weeks, months, or even years without feeling anything odd going on in your mouth, but that’s why oral cancer screenings are important.

Things you might not know about oral cancer:

  • The discovery of oral cancer cells in patients used to be more common in people over 40 years of age, but the demographic has become much younger as of late.
  • It takes more than one mutation for a cell to evolve into a cancerous one.
  • Although excessive smoking and drinking are considered huge risk factors associated with oral cancer, a diet low in produce is just as dangerous.
  • Prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun can induce cancer.
  • Oral cancer used to be much more common in men, but now the cases are practically even between men and women.

For more useful facts about oral cancer, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation’s website.

What Is Involved In An Oral Cancer Screening?

Screenings for oral cancer can start off very simple. But depending on how the first part goes, you might need to progress to the next stages for the sake of your dental and overall general health. People get sores in their mouths often, but an oral cancer screening will help your dentist find these sores and test them to see if they’re cancerous. Here’s what to expect when getting an oral cancer screening by a qualified dentist in the Pomona and Diamond Bar areas.

The Initial Exam

The first part of the screening is so simple that it’s typically done during your regular dental exam. The dentist will take a look at your mouth and throat using certain tools as needed such as a tiny mirror or a tongue depressor. They will keep an eye out for any unusual bumps, spots with swelling, and red or white patches of discoloration. Parts of the mouth that they will examine closely include the roof of your mouth, your inner cheeks, gums, tongue, and tonsils. Your dentist may also palpate different areas of your mouth or neck in order to uncover any hidden masses. In some cases, you may need to go through more unusual examination methods.

Additional Testing

If your dentist senses anything odd after a thorough look over your mouth, you may be asked to go through more testing in order to either verify or pinpoint the abnormalities. Depending on your dentist or current situation, you may be asked to come back for a follow-up appointment to see if the trouble area subsides or you could go through any of the following methods:

Test Type Description
The Dye Method
  • A toluidine dye is applied to the suspected area and will turn blue when in contact with irregular tissue.
The Laser Light Method
  • A light is shown in the suspected area. Regular tissue will appear dark, but abnormal tissue will glow white.
The Rinsing Method
The Biopsy Method
  • A sample of the cells is extracted and taken to a lab to see if any cancer cells are present.

The Treatment Process

If cancer cells need to be removed, the usual treatment options involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, removal surgery, or any combination of the above. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the procedure will be successful. This is why it’s essential to get oral screenings done sooner than later.

Ways to Help Prevent Oral Cancer

Regular checkups are crucial to ensuring that cancer cells don’t escalate beyond repair. But how often should you go get examined? If you’re between the ages of 20 and 40, going in for an oral cancer screening every three years will suffice. For those over the age of 40, every year is ideal. But if you are a regular smoker and/or drinker, you should get an annual checkup despite your age since you’re at a higher risk. Along with professional checkups by your local dentist, you can also perform self-exams right at home! They’re easy to do and are practical for monthly evaluations.

Schedule Your Next Dental Appointment With Phillips Ranch Dental Group

Are you a resident of Diamond Bar or Pomona? Phillips Ranch Dental Group is the best dental office in the area for a thorough and accurate oral cancer screening. The staff will perform every examination and test needed to ensure that you are healthy and cancer-free. If anything, the dental experts will be able to spot the signs right away and suggest the best treatment plan for you! Call 909-860-0321 to schedule your oral cancer screening today.