Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral Cancer Screenings

Why does Dr. Johnson have you stick your tongue out during an exam?

One of the most effective ways to diagnose oral cancer at an early stage is for a dentist to perform a quick oral cancer screening during your regular dental exam. Dr. Johnson looks at the lips, inside of the cheeks, gums and roof of the mouth. He also uses a piece of gauze to hold onto the tongue to get a good look at the sides and underneath the tongue during his exam.

If anything looks unusual, Dr. Johnson will have one of our team members take a picture utilizing an intraoral camera. Then we will have you return two weeks later to re-check the area. Typically, if it’s a spot that has had some sort of trauma it will heal in that two-week period. If there is not an improvement, we will help you schedule an appointment with one of the local oral surgeons to do a consult. The oral surgeon will utilize their specialized training to examine the area and complete a biopsy if necessary.

Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use (both smoking and chewing), frequent and heavy alcohol use, certain types of HPV and prolonged sun exposure. However, a patient with none of these risk factors can still be diagnosed with oral cancer!

If you have noticed anything abnormal in or around your mouth, please call and make an appointment or mention it at your next visit!

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