Oral Cancer Screenings in Tampa, FL
Oral cancer is usually identified at an early stage because it’s in a visible part of the body. Even if it’s not producing symptoms or pain, a mass or ulcer can be seen by people while they brush their teeth. At Carrollwood Dental Studio in Tampa, we also look for abnormalities in the mouth when our clients visit us for their checkups.
At Carrollwood Dental Studio, an oral cancer screening takes less than 5 minutes and is painless. We use a good source of light to look inside your mouth for abnormal patches, ulcers, or masses. All parts of your mouth are examined, including the inside of your cheeks, back of your throat, and under your tongue.
To make sure we don’t miss anything, we might have to put a finger under your tongue to feel around. We may also examine the lymph nodes under your chin, but this is done over the skin, not through your mouth.
You don’t have to prepare for screenings in any way. We do them when you visit us for a checkup. If you notice anything abnormal in your mouth and want to visit, we’d be happy to help.
As we mentioned earlier, the things we look for are masses, ulcers, or areas that are discolored. All of these aren’t normally found in our mouths and make us suspicious that something’s wrong. Keep in mind that these findings don’t automatically mean cancer. An infection or aphthous ulcer can produce similar findings.
If we find something that looks benign, we may postpone additional testing and ask you to come back in a couple of weeks. Worsening or persistence of a lesion will prompt further testing, but if it goes away, then it was probably benign.
Further testing involves taking a sample of tissue from the lesion, known as taking a biopsy and sending it to a lab. The lab will then take a look at the biopsy under the microscope and tell us whether or not it’s cancer. We can’t say that something is cancer for sure until we get the results of the biopsy back.