What patients in Sebastopol, CA can expect from an oral cancer screening and prevention
When you come in to see Dr. Silvano Senn at Whole Health Dentistry in Sebastopol, CA for an oral cancer screening, you can expect your oral cavity and connected tissues to be both visually and physically examined to detect and prevent oral cancer. An oral cancer screening is meant to reassure you that there are no problems and, if a problem is detected early, there are several treatments available. A screening may be recommended based on a patient’s lifestyle choices (such as if they are a smoker) or just for precautionary reasons but should be done occasionally in order to catch any signs before symptoms begin to surface.
When you come in for a cancer screening, the face, lips, neck, inner nose and oral cavity are all checked out for any possible signs of developing cancer. Before a screening, you will be asked to remove any dental appliances you may be wearing so that all areas are completely exposed. During a visual exam, you may be asked to sit up or lie down as your dentist checks you for any asymmetries, bumps, swelling, patches of color or other abnormalities. Your dentist will employ the use of mirrors and lights so that they can see inside your nose and mouth clearly. A tongue depressor will be used to keep your tongue down so the back of your mouth can be checked. Much like a typical physical, you may be asked to say “Ahhhh” so that areas of the throat which are normally difficult to see may be exposed. Your dentist may use other tools which they have at their disposal to check your:
- Roof of your mouth
- Inner cheeks
- Underneath Your Tongue
Once a visual exam has been completed, your dentist will then want to check out (through physical touch) your head, cheeks, oral cavity, around the jaw and underneath your chin. This examination will be to feel if there are any unusual masses or nodules that can be felt by physical touch. You may also be asked to go through a range of motions to check for any immobility or discomfort in normally mobile tissues that could indicate trouble. Oral cancer can be painful, but there are signs that could surface which cause no pain whatsoever such as swelling. You may also be asked to swallow during a throat examination.
After Your Exam
Oral cancer screenings are intended as a precautionary (and not diagnostic) measure. Even if nothing abnormal is spotted during your cancer screening, you may be asked to repeat these at regular intervals. This is especially true if you have lifestyle habits which could promote cancer growth such as:
- Tobacco use
- Regular or excessive alcohol consumption
If symptoms are detected, you may be referred for testing so that conclusions can be reached regarding any abnormalities. It’s important to try and catch any cancer early as this early detection can greatly increase your chances of beating it and living a long and healthy life.
When you come into Whole Health Dentistry in Sebastopol, CA for an oral screening, you aren’t just coming in for a medical exam. You can use this opportunity to talk with Dr. Silvano Senn and his staff about any concerns or fears you may be experiencing as well as advice for reducing cancer risk. If you have nerves prior to an appointment, it’s a great idea to write down a list of questions that you can bring in with you to ask. To schedule an appointment, please call 707 549-6333 today!