Do you know there are about 45,000 cases of oral cancer in USA? Out of these cases, about 8,000 result in death. The only way the oral cancer can be successfully treated is through the early diagnosis. While there are numerous advances made regularly in the surgical, radiation and chemotherapy treatment, the survival rate for the patients is generally moderate. Hence, it depends all upon the dentist to diagnose the oral cancer early, during the yearly check-up.
The aim of the routine check-up is to detect the ailments early. The examination for the oral cancer is done through the fluorescent oral cancer screening light. The light detects the lumps in the throat and mouth.
Steps for oral cancer screening:
Step 1: Tongue and gauze
The first step that we ask the patient in the routine oral screening is to extend the tongue. The tongue is examined for the white and red patches along with lumps. This is one of most common site of oral cancer for the non-smokers.
The tongue should be able to move completely without any asymmetry and should not spasm. Any masses, swelling and ulceration is concerning. If there is any nerve paralysis of the hypoglossal nerve, the tongue will usually veer towards the lesion.
Step 2: Lip & Cheek Roll
Just like the tongue check, the lips and cheeks are checked for any white or red areas. The lip is evaluated along with the mouth. Our experts make sure there are no abnormalities in the shape and symmetry of the lip. For smokeless tobacco users, we look for white or red discolorations, ulcers or texture variations on the labial mucosa. We will also look for gingival mucosa, gingivolabial sulcus or any form of nodular submucosal areas.
Step 3: Double-Digit Probe
We examine the floor of the mouth from bottom to top. We ensure that there are no lumps present on the floor or on the top of the mouth. There should also be no red or white patches present.
Step 4: Palate
During the palate check, the roof of the mouth is checked for lumps along with various areas of hard palate for softness. There should be no white and red patches present on the palate. We generally depress the tongue with the tongue blade to have the better view of the soft palate. We focus on any loose teeth, ulcerations, white spots, red spots, asymmetry, rough areas and abnormal growth or mass.
Step 5: Neck caress
In the process of neck caress, out expert dentists palpate the neck for enlarged lymph nodes. We focus on any possible sign of infection or anything more serious. If you are over the age of 40 with a painless neck mass, we check the inside of the mouth first with an oral cancer screening light to ensure that primary locations are identified.
Step 6: Tonsil
We look at the tonsils for symmetry making sure that they have no redness, unusual bumps, enlargement or anything less. We also make sure that there is no exophytic mass, asymmetry, ulceration, or any redness.
At North Island Dental Arts, we offer an in-depth examination for oral cancer. Make sure you contact them for your consultation.