Like many conditions, oral cancer is easier to treat the earlier it is caught. Dr. Robert Brewer, your Upper Arlington dentist at Kingsdale Dental Care, conducts oral cancer screenings every day with the goal of catching and treating oral cancer before it becomes serious. It helps many patients’ peace of mind to know that Dr. Brewer is watching for problems; and if he does find a problem, it will be much easier to treat and remove if it is caught before it can spread.
Typically, the screening is done at your biannual dental visit. There are a number of ways Dr. Brewer looks for oral cancer. The most straightforward way is to simply have a look around in your mouth and observe any sores. He will also feel for any abnormal lumps. If there is any reason for concern, Dr. Brewer may do a more detailed exam with a bright light, or may ask you to swish with a special dye that indicates abnormal cells.
If Dr. Brewer comes across anything worrisome during your screening, there are a few steps he will take before diagnosing the sore as cancerous or noncancerous. Typically, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled for a week or two later. If the sores in question have not cleared up by then, Dr. Brewer will take a biopsy of the tissue. The potentially cancerous tissue will be tested further before making a firm diagnosis.
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Some patients are more likely than others to get oral cancer. Patients who are at risk for and are more susceptible to oral cancer are those who use tobacco products, consume alcohol excessively, or have had oral cancer before. In addition, patients who experience significant sun exposure are more likely to get lip cancer. If any of this applies to you, you should make regular, biannual cancer screenings a priority. You should also visit Dr. Brewer immediately if you have sores or cankers that look or feel abnormal, or that take weeks to heal.
For patients without these risk factors, many professionals, including Dr. Brewer, take a “better safe than sorry” approach, and believe that all patients should be screened at their biannual dental cleanings and exams. If you are worried about potential abnormalities in your mouth, schedule an appointment at Kingsdale Dental Care today. Dr. Brewer strives to be the best dentist in Upper Arlington, and will gladly help you achieve peace of mind about your dental health.