The purpose of Oral Cancer Screening in Austin TX is to look for signs of precancerous conditions in a patients’ mouth before active symptoms have evolved. As with any form of cancer, a patient’s best chance of beating oral cancer lies in early diagnosis and aggressive treatment. These screenings are often performed as a routine part of regular dental exams, but specialized testing is also available for those with a higher risk index.
Risk factors for developing oral cancer include any kind tobacco use from using chewing tobacco to smoking cigarettes and cigars, frequent or heavy alcohol consumption, and a history of extreme sun exposure. Researchers admit that there may also be a genetic component. These risk factors do not preclude the possibility of low-risk patients developing oral cancer, but they can help dentists to decide when it is appropriate to perform more in-depth screening procedures.
Oral Cancer Screening in Austin TX does have its limitations. It cannot detect early warning signs of all possible cancers of the mouth, and additional testing is required to determine if any sores or lesions that are present are cancerous. When sores are found, the abnormal cells must be biopsied and sent to a lab for testing in order to determine whether or not a patient is at risk.
The dentist performing the exam will look for any sores or red and white patches of tissue. In addition to this visual evaluation, he or she will feel around the tissues inside the mouth to check for abnormalities such as lumps or lesions. Any removable dental prosthetic devices such as dentures must be removed prior to the screening. For low-risk and healthy patients this basic evaluation may be all that is required. For others a dentist might apply blue dye via a mouth wash prior to screening that can encourage the appearance of any abnormal cells. He or she might also shine a bright light into the patients mouth to make it easier to identify abnormal tissue.
Only a qualified dentist can determine a patient’s risk factors and whether or not these or other screening procedures are necessary. Those at high risk or noticing any tissue abnormalities over the course of normal maintenance should speak with a qualified dental professional as soon as possible. Visit for more information about the services they provide or to schedule an appointment.