If you are a chronic smoker or if you have used tobacco products in the past, then you should be getting screened on a regular basis for oral cancer. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, around 37,00 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer just this year. Even though oral cancer can be aggressive, if it’s caught in early stages, it’s usually reasonably treatable which means that exams are really important. As a fast and easy exam, the oral cancer exam is nothing to worry about. But just to help ease your mind, let’s take a closer look at exactly what you can expect.
Step 1: The first step is to examine the entire oral cavity with a white light called Identafi®. To start out, the upper portion of the mouth and inner contour teeth will be examined. Then, the lower portion of the mouth, the tongue, hard and soft palate, and pharynx will be examined.
Step 2: As the second step in the examination process, we will use a new instrument called the 405-nanometer which uses patented fluorescent violet light to identify any abnormal tissue growth— either benign or cancerous.
Step 3: The last step in the oral cancer exam uses a green amber reflectance light which examines the blood vessels around lesions. Any areas that have an increased amount of vasculature are more likely to be cancerous.
The great news about oral cancer exams is that they are fast, easy, and pain-free which means that you can get them done during your next dental cleaning without having to take off any additional time from work. When it comes to oral cancer screening, we encourage all of our patients who currently use tobacco products or have used them in the past to get one of these processes done.
If you would like to learn more about oral cancer exams, contact our Abington office today and give us a call at (215) 885-0555.