Oral Cancer Screenings – Lincoln, NE
How a Few Minutes Can Save Your Life
When preparing for a regular dental checkup and cleaning, you likely expect your hygienist to thoroughly clean your teeth and gums while your dentist performs a quick examination of your oral cavity. Though this process is typical, your dentist is looking for more than just signs of tooth decay and gum disease. When choosing to see Dr. Jennifer Reed, she incorporates oral cancer screenings in Lincoln into the exam portion of your visit. Why? Because oral cancer knows no age and can occur in patients of all ages. With more than 50,000 Americans being diagnosed with oral cancer each year, more than 9,700 die from the disease. Whether it is due to a lack of early detection or the inability to successfully treat it before it’s too late, oral cancer screenings are designed to help save lives and only take a matter of minutes. To find out how you can take advantage of this preventive service, contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
When attempting to identify the signs and symptoms associated with oral cancer, you will discover that many are often the same as other health conditions. This makes it difficult for patients to pinpoint certain problems and attribute them to what might be oral cancer. Dr. Reed, however, is well-versed in what signs to look for, making it possible for her to identify areas of concern and refer you to a specialist if needed.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Bad breath
- Swelling of the jaw
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, and opening and closing your mouth
- Mouth sores that do not go away
- Red and white patches that appear on your gums, tonsils, tongue, or lining of the mouth
- Loose teeth
What Your Dentist is Looking For
Dr. Reed will be looking for various abnormalities and signs that could be easily attributed to oral cancer, such as:
- Any swelling around your mouth, neck, or throat
- Bumps that appear along your neck or within your mouth
- Changes in color as it pertains to your soft oral tissues
Should she discover anything that points to the potential of oral cancer, she will refer you to a specialist who will then confirm your diagnosis. This proactive approach to early detection will play a key role in providing you with the ideal treatment plan to aggressively attack the cancer and improve your chances of survival exponentially.
What to Expect During an Oral Cancer Screening
The oral cancer screening process is quite simple and completely painless. First, your prosthodontist in Lincoln will perform a physical exam by reviewing your oral tissue for any indications of cancerous cells as well as abnormal signs that are closely connected to oral cancer.
She may opt to use a tongue depressor or other dental instruments to assist in her examination. She will also feel your head, cheeks, jawline, under your chin, and the inside of your mouth to determine if there are any bumps or masses present.
If necessary, she will review any dental X-Rays to ensure there are no concerns that exist beneath the gum line as well.