In case you missed our article earlier this week, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. And, one of the most important things you can do to prevent oral cancer is to get a screening.
The American Dental Association recommends getting an oral cancer screening at each dentist appointment. But, what happens during an oral cancer test at the dentist?
Don’t worry – it’s really not that scary. Here is what you can expect during a routine oral cancer exam for Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
Expect it to be painless. The average screening takes only a few minutes and can easily fit into a regular dentist’s appointment. And, there are no scary tools, medicines or machines.
Expect to remove your dentures (if you have them). This goes for full plates and partials. Your dentist needs to be able to see your entire mouth, with no obstructions.
Expect to answer some questions. Your answers are important – they could help pinpoint potential problems before your actual oral cancer screening begins. Here are a few questions you may hear during your test.
Expect your dentist to check your face, neck, lips and mouth, using gloved fingers, gauze and/or tongue depressors. Here’s the typical order of events:
And that’s it! See, your screening for oral cancer wasn’t that bad, was it?
It’s important to note that more young people are contracting oral cancer now, often due to the HPV (human papillomavirus) infection. Oral cancer isn’t just a disease for smokers and older people. Anyone can get it, and everyone should get an oral cancer exam.
So, the next time you have a dentist appointment, remember to ask for your screening. It’s painless and could save your life.
To find out more about oral cancer risk factors and prevention tips, click here.
Talk to us in the comments! Have you had an oral cancer test? What was your experience like?
(Image via the International Oral Cancer Association.)