An oral exam is routinely performed by the dentist during the course of an initial comprehensive exam and regular check-ups. An oral cancer exam refers to the identification and management of diseases pertaining to the maxillofacial and oral regions.
The soft tissue of the mouth is normally lined with mucosa, which is special type of skin that should appear smooth in texture and pink in color. Any alteration of the color or texture of the mucosa may signal the beginning of a pathologic process. These changes may occur on the face, neck, and areas of the mouth (e.g., gums, tongue, lips, etc.). The most serious of these pathologic changes (which may or may not be painful) is oral cancer, but there are also many other common pathologic problems.
Oral cancer is a general term used when referring to any type of cancer affecting the tongue, jaw, and lower cheek area. Since it is impossible for the dentist to decisively diagnose a pathological disease without taking a biopsy sample of the affected area, seeking immediate treatment when changes are first noticed might be a life and death decision.
During the course of a regular check up, Dr. Moen will thoroughly inspect the soft tissue of the mouth and take serious note of any changes. If there are cell changes present, the dentist will take a biopsy of the affected area and send it away to be analyzed by laboratory specialists. When definitive results are obtained, the dentist can decide on the best course of treatment. If the area is of concern and cannot be biopsied, we will refer you to an Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist or an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon for further assessment and treatment.
Oral Cancer Screenings
An oral cancer screening is always performed during a comprehensive or recall (check-up) exam. Screening is painless and only takes a few minutes.
If you are experiencing any pain, symptoms, or abnormalities that cause you concern, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.