What are Oral Cancer Screenings?
Oral cancer can affect adults of any and all ages. Some patients are more at risk of developing oral cancer, like those who smoke or use chewing tobacco. However, we often recommend an annual oral cancer screening as a way to keep up on your oral health. With early detection, treatment is both easier and more effective.
Why would Oral Cancer Screenings be needed?
Lifestyle factors like smoking and chewing tobacco can increase the risks of developing oral cancer. Even if you've quit smoking years ago, it is still important that annual screenings be done. The screening itself takes just minutes and can be helpful in preventing future oral health problems. Even if you're not a smoker or use other types of tobacco, we recommend having a screening done regularly.
Who is a candidate for Oral Cancer Screenings?
If you're a smoker or use other tobacco-related products, we recommend coming in for routine screenings. If cancer runs in your family, it's important to consider coming in to get checked. Most adults are good candidates for these screenings. The benefits of having a screening done far outweigh the few minutes it takes to have it performed in our office.
What happens during Oral Cancer Screenings?
First, our dentist will perform a dental examination as usual. Then, he'll lift the tongue to look underneath it. Our dentist will then visually scan the inside and outside of your mouth, looking for unusual lesions, bumps and plaque-like film that could be a sign of oral cancer. If we detect anything unusual, we will recommend that a biopsy be done to find out if the area is benign or cancerous. Keep in mind that the majority of cancer screenings come out negative, but it is still important to have them done so that we can catch a problem early on, if it's there.
What Types of Tools Are Used?
Our dentists will use a new technology called OralID to inspect your mouth for oral cancer. OralID is manufactured by Forward Science, a company that was founded with the vision to create a simpler, efficient, and more affordable oral cancer screening device. OralID uses the same proven fluorescence technology as other oral exam devices, with no up-front costs and lower overall lifetime costs. In addition, unlike any other device on the market, OralID has no per-patient cost during use.
OralID uses a proven, optically based technology called, "fluorescence technology." OralID's fluorescence technology uses a blue light (435-460 nm) that provides the clinician an aid in visualization of oral mucosal abnormalities, such as oral cancer and pre-cancer. The other medical applications of fluorescence technology include highlighting abnormalities of the GI tract, cervix, lung, and skin.