Oral Cancer Screenings in Burke, Northern Virginia

Oral Cancer Screenings in Burke, Northern Virginia

We know that we should see the dentist to have our teeth cleaned or to treat a toothache. But did you know that getting a regular dental check-up can help reduce your risk of developing advanced oral cancer? At NOVA Dental Anesthesia in Burke, Northern VA we know how important maintaining a healthy mouth is to maintaining good overall health. Let’s talk about what is involved in an oral cancer screening and how you can know if you should schedule one.

Why You Should Get Checked

Certain habits could put you at higher risk for developing oral cancer. These include:

  • Using any form of tobacco
  • Regular use of alcohol
  • Spending a lot of time in the sun
  • Having Human Papillomavirus (HPV) on your lips
  • Previous diagnosis of oral cancer

What Happens During a Screening?

There are many different levels of oral cancer screening and each dentist has his own preferred style of examination. Most likely your dentist will begin with a basic examination of all the structures of your mouth. He will examine your:

  • Lips, inside and outside
  • Tongue
  • Gums
  • Inner cheek
  • Roof of the mouth
  • Back of the throat

He won’t only visually examine those structures, but he’ll also feel under your tongue and inside your mouth to make sure everything is normal. He’ll also feel the skin under your jaw. During the exam, he’ll be looking for lumps or discolored patches. The entire exam should take about 5 minutes. If he finds any irregularities he’ll probably want to take a biopsy, or tissue sample, of the affected area and send it to the lab to be checked for cancer cells.

It’s important to keep in mind that many times biopsies come back negative for cancer. However, getting your mouth checked regularly can let you catch any potential problems early. If you feel you might be at risk for oral cancer and would like the peace of mind an oral exam by an experienced dentist affords, call us today at NOVA Dental Anesthesia. We’re here to help you achieve your optimal oral health.

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