At Michael C. Bell, DDS, PC, we perform oral cancer screenings as a preemptive measure. If there are any symptoms or warning signs, a regular oral cancer screening can help prompt early treatment and save your life. If not, oral cancer screenings can help reassure you that your oral health is in good condition.
Please be aware of symptoms and warning signs. If a symptom persists for more than two weeks, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bell as soon as possible. Symptoms include:
Oral cancer is not a commonly talked about disease, but there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral cancers over recent years. At Michael C. Bell, DDS, PC, we are using a new instrument to screen for oral cancer called the Oral ID. Oral ID uses a proven, optically based technology called “fluorescence technology.” Oral ID’s fluorescence technology uses a blue light that allows Dr. Michael Bell to identify oral cancer, pre-cancer and other abnormalities at an earlier stage, thus saving lives. This is a simple and painless test that is done at your first initial exam, then yearly with Dr. Bell at no extra cost to you! For more information or questions please contact us!
An oral cancer screening is broken down into two parts, a visual and physical exam. Before the exam, you will be asked to remove any dental appliance you may have. During the visual exam, we will use a new instrument called the Oral ID. Oral ID is an optical tool that utilizes “fluorescence technology” to illuminate any symptoms of oral cancer. The blue light emitted by Oral ID allows Dr. Michael Bell to identify suspicious tissues, asymmetries, swellings, bumps, ulcerations, or other abnormalities. He may use a depressor to hold the tongue down and get a better look at the back of the throat. Visual exams also include a look at your nasal cavity.
The second part of an oral cancer screening is the physical exam. During the physical exam, Micahel C. Bell, DDS will examine the jaw, cheeks, under the chin, and into the oral cavity, to feel around for any unusual masses or nodules. He will also check for any immobility in tissue that is meant to be mobile. You may be asked whether any physical contact causes discomfort and to swallow while he examines your throat.
Keep in mind; abnormal results are not an indication or diagnosis of cancer. Oral cancer screenings are performed on your initial exam and then yearly as a precautionary measure. The test is simple, quick, and usually painless. During the exam, please voice any questions or concerns you may have that are related to your oral health.
Unfortunately, there is no real way to prevent oral cancer, but limiting risk factors can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy mouth. If you have a poor diet, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, or used tobacco products, you are at greater risk of developing oral cancer. Changing your habits can significantly decrease your chances, and improve your life.
Certain strains of HPV can also put you at risk. The CDC recommends that 11 to 12-year-old children get two doses of an HPV vaccine to prevent cervical and other types of cancer. If you have had oral cancer before, you may be more likely to develop it again. Make sure to maintain regular screenings.
If you would like to learn more about our cancer screening process, call 512-327-7750 and schedule an office visit today.