At Wellesley Dental Arts, we take oral cancer extremely seriously. That’s because this highly dangerous condition is best diagnosed at its earliest stages - when treatment can be more proactive and effective. Because of these reasons, we conduct an oral cancer screening during every dental exam. So, what should you expect?
Examination of the External Tissues
We will assess the appearance of your skin outside of the mouth, including your lips, face, scalp and neck for signs of cancer, pre-cancer, or infection.
Hard and Soft Tissue Palpation Through the Head and Neck
Many types of cancer manifest themselves along the lymph nodes. Our doctors will palpate the lymph nodes along your neck, through the jawline. Then inside of the mouth we will palpate areas below the tongue within the floor of the mouth, the cheeks, and the lips. This helps us identify knots or nodules that may be an undiagnosed tumor or growth.
Examination of Intra-oral Soft Tissues
The smooth tissues will also be examined for areas of white, red or spotted lesions that do not match the tissues surrounding them. What you may think is an ulcer or infection that does not go away in a timely manner may actually be oral cancer.
Recommendations and Follow-up
Should an abnormal or precancerous tissue be noted, we will want to make a follow up plan. This could be monitoring the lesion for 10-14 days to see if it has changed, or it may be best to conduct a biopsy. Biopsies are sent to an off-site laboratory where they are assessed.
If you are concerned about an area in or around your mouth, face, head or neck that does not look or feel normal - call Wellesley Dental Arts today to schedule an exam.