Oral Cancer Screening – Get Tested Today to Start Treatment Early

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Did you know that oral cancer screening is so imperative?  If only people got screened regularly, the amount of deaths resulting from oral and throat cancers would slightly reduce. In the US, around forty-five thousand cases of oral cavity and throat cancer are noted every year and about eight thousand deaths result from it.  According to studies, oral cancer depends highly upon diagnosis and quick treatment. If it’s found early, agony and deaths it causes can be mitigated. Reputable uptown dentists offer oral cancer scans; so, find a dentist you can trust and get tested.

More facts about oral cancer

Historically, those who smoke or drink alcohol have a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Additionally, people who are over fifty years of age and they smoke and/or drink alcohol have a bigger risk of developing oral cancer. Indeed, research has disclosed that 3 out of 4 cases in over 50s age-group are as a result of abusing alcohol and cigarettes.  Research shows that thirty percent of oral cancers start in your tongue, seventeen percent in the lip and fourteen percent in your mouth floor. Another fact is that most cancers begin on the back of the throat, under the tongue and on the sides of the tongue. Moreover, most neck and brain cancers begin in the mouth. Hence, if you into alcohol and cigarettes, it would be nice to get scanned often. If possible, quit your addictions and enhance your future health. During the test, you can learn if you are HPV- 16/18(Human papillomavirus) positive.  Don’t assume that you are too young to develop oral cancer. Cases of men and women in their twenties and thirties who are sick have been escalating.

Which is the most prevalent type of oral cancer?

It is called squamous cell carcinoma. It is characterized by reddening of the soft palate, which may have speckled areas of white or velvet-red patches. If provoked by tobacco, squamous cell carcinoma will mostly develop on the tongue base and/or on supraglottis. Sometimes a solid, movable mass with a clear appearance might affect your left carotid bifurcation. It is wise to get screened today if you smoke tobacco or abuse alcohol. Still, your dentist 77027 can identify other forms of oral cancer that not as common as the squamous cell carcinoma. These are: Kaposi sarcoma, adenocarcinoma, and melanoma.

Why does oral cancer kill so many?

The first reason why so many victims lose their lives is because they don’t even know about oral cancer and don’t visit their dentists for screening. They drink and/or smoke for fun without foreseeing the dangers of doing it. Besides lack of awareness, oral cancer is hard to identify until it has spread from one location to another. Besides, this kind of cancer is typically painless when it’s starting out. But, when it enters the deeper tissues of your mouth, it’s likely to hurt a lot. Diagnosis gets harder when the undetected disease has spread to neck’s lymph nodes. And if you already have primary oral cancer, your risk of developing secondary lesions without being found out is higher. Thus, having regular oral checkups can raise the odds that your oral cancer would be detected early. Oral cancer’s survival rate is five years, however, your individual rate depends on the location of your malignancy and the length of time the lesion has existed. If you have chronic lesions, chances are that your metastasis and lymph node are involved. To survive oral cancer, therefore, you should select an uptown dental Houston clinic that provides cancer screenings.

Understanding oral cancer

Prior to seeing a dentist in Houston, you should understand the disease itself. And to do this, you have to know how your oral cavity is like. It is usually oval shaped and split into the oral cavity proper and oral vestibule. The cavity entails your lips, hard palate, cheek mucosa, gingivae, floor of the mouth, teeth, mobile tongue and retromolar trigone. The base is usually bony and consists of mandibular and maxillary bones. To comprehend this better, search for an oral cavity picture online. Meanwhile, go and see your best 77027 dentist and get screened.

How oral cancer screening is done

This type of screen entails up to ten steps. It should be done a well-educated dentist in Houston Texas, who also boasts years of hands-on experience. This screening should be performed once or twice a year during a regular dental visit. If you can manage two checkups per annum, that’s great. In addition to examining your oral cavity for cancer signs, your smile makeover Houston specialist will also detect other issues. The following are ten steps your dental expert might follow during the screening exercise.

Extraoral exam - This is a thorough examination that entails the following:

  • Face – Your dentist will examine your whole face, and will search for masses, swelling, ulceration, discoloration or asymmetry. If there areas of skin where you have red, brown or black (pigmentation) blemishes, raised, ulcerated or solid bumps, he or she will be keener on them. Moreover, your dental specialist will examine your skeleton, facial bones and soft tissues for masses or unevenness.
  • Eyes examination – The doctor will check your extraocular movements in every direction. This will enable him or her to test for cranial nerve involvement. If your perioribital area or eye is swollen, your dentist will consider that a late sign of a tumor. If there is an obstructing mass in your maxillary sinus, facial soft tissue or nose, drainage from your epiphora(lacrimal system) is a good sign.
  • Ears and nose examination – During ears examination, your dentist will want to test your acoustic nerve for reliability. He or she will talk with you while doing the exam to assess the level of damage, if any. As for nasal examination, your dentist will check the palpitation of your external nose and paranasal area. The aurical will be inspected too, noting down any ulcerous, erythematous or pigmented lesions.
  • Neck examination – Positioned at the dentist’s eye level, your dentist will palpate your neck, comparing both sides at once for symptoms of lymph nodes enlargement. To check the jugular chain, the medical practitioner will palpate down the course of sternomastoid muscles with two deeply placed fingers. They will also palpate under the mandible and along the clavicle. Furthermore, they will check either side of your supraclavicular spaces; assess the parotid groups lying anteriorly and inferiorly to your ears, evaluate your submental and end with your submaxillary chain. If a painless neck mass is found on a person over 40 years, it’s assumed that they have oral cancer until a re-examination of their oral cavity reveals otherwise.
  • Thyroid gland - Your medical expert will also inspect and palpate your thyroid gland. As it is not easily felt, doctors prefer to palpate this gland while standing behind (although examining from the front of their patients is still fine) their patients. During the palpitation process, the dentist has to note the characteristic of nodules and/or masses. They must ask you to swallow while placing their fingers adjacent to the gland itself so it can be raised to simplify the examination.  The lobe area also requires frequent swallowing as it allows the gland to move up, and this is when any abnormality is discovered.
  • Lips examination – With your mouth open and closed, your dentist 77027 expert will be able to asses your lips for cancer signs. He or she will be keen to note any anomalies in contour, symmetry, color and texture of your lips. Additionally, they will focus more on your vermilion border of the lower lip. This area tends to be a major site for oral cancer development. If your labial mucosa is rough and lacks uniformity in color, there could be a problem and your dental expert might see signs of tobacco use (but not smoked tobacco). Gingivolabial sulcus, teeth and gingival mucosa should be inspected while the lip is retracted. Next, the practitioner will use their thumb and index finger to palpate the lip and observe any firmness or nodular submucosal parts.

Intraoral cavity exams – Here your houston dentistry specialist will test the floor of your mouth, buccal mucosa, tongue, tonsils and hard and soft palate.

  • Buccal mucosa examination – The aim is to move buccal mucosa away from your teeth and gingival in order to view your vestibule. If any irregularity in color and texture are noted, your dental expert will take a note of it. Other areas that must undergo examination include labial commissure,anterior tonsillar pillar, stenson’s duct, cheeks, upper jaws and lower jaws. If any hidden masses are found, your doctor will move to the next step.
  • Tongue – To simplify this examination, you will be asked to remove your tongue from the mouth and move it from side to side. The professional oral dentist will be keen to notices the tongue movement to see if there are spasms or asymmetry, masses, ulcerations or swelling. The tongue dorsum should not have any discoloration, limitations to movement or irregularities. These might indicate presence of cancer. The lateral border of your tongue is a prime cancer site and will be among the first areas to the examined. The dentist will use gauze to remove your tongue and roll it from side to side while using a tongue blade to withdraw your cheek. To seep a section of your oropharynx, or base of your tongue, a dental mirror will be used. The tongue must be pulled forward and then held and rolling it position with 2 by 2 gauze to clear the view. Masses or firm bumps can be noted if the dorsum and lateral margins are palpated as well as palpating the lingual tonsils without forcing the patient to gag. The ventral surface of your tongue will be examined by having you touch the roof of your mouth its tip.
  • Floor of your mouth – This is a U-shaped area of your mouth and it expands from the alveolar ridge of the mandible to the ventral area of your tongue. The tongue needs to be raised to allow the doctor to inspect this area. Sometimes they may wrap gauze around the tip of the tongue and pull your tongue forward and to one side in a gentle manner. While held in this position, the dentist will then push the middle of your tongue up and out using a gloved finger or tongue blade. Then they will check the status of your submandibular glands ducts and examine sublingual glands and frenulum. As the floor of the mouth is a prime site for oral cancers, your dental specialist will be very careful and thorough when checking it out.
  • Hard and soft palate – With the patient’s head tilted backward and mouth opened widely, the doctor will catch a clear view of the hard and soft palate. He or she may also press the base of your tongue with a blade to view the soft palate more clearly. If there is cancer in this section, your oral doctor will notice loose teeth, red spots, ulcerations, roughness, growths, asymmetry, ulcerations, white spots and other bumps. Uvula should hang down normally in the midline and if there is a tiny deviation, it could indicate vagal nerve palsy. If there is bony outgrowth from the midline of your hard palate, the healthcare expert will be more careful not to mistake it for malignant cancer.
  • Tonsils – These are tested when the patient’s mouth is wide open and their breath is slow and relaxed. The doctor examines your oropharynx and might press down your tongue with a blade to view it well. He or she will ask you to breath in and out (producing this sound: “ahh”) to see your oropharnyx properly and see if it has cancer signs. Tonsillar fossa and posterior tonsillar pillars will also be checked for symptoms of oral cancer.


If you a regular smoker or alcohol user, you have a bigger risk of oral cancer. During your year dental checkups, ask your Houston dentist to screen your mouth for oral cancer signs. This is not to mean that people who don’t drink or smoke cannot have cancer. Everyone should get screened at least once or twice a year so that signs can be found and treated early. During an appointment, your dentist Houston expert will explain the whole process to help you relax.