At Rosas Family Dentistry, we encourage our patients to get oral cancer screenings in Houston, TX. These screenings should be done at specific intervals by a dentist near you. Rest assured that at Rosas Family Dentistry in Houston, TX, we have the training and experience to perform these screenings effectively. We are also careful while screening to keep our patients comfortable.
You might not see the purpose of seeing a dentist in Houston, TX for oral cancer screenings near you if you feel fine. The goal of screening for cancer is to diagnose it before patients start having complaints. Catching cancer at an early stage makes treatment easier and more effective.
Oral cancer screening involves inspection and palpation. We inspect and palpate the entire oral cavity to look for lesions. Before we examine you, we’ll ask you a few questions about your medical history. Next, we’ll inspect your mouth with the help of our tools. Palpation comes next and is done using our fingers.
Palpation is done gently to avoid inconveniencing our patients. The entire exam only lasts a few minutes and is painless. Local anesthesia isn’t even required. During the exam, we look for ulcers, masses, and patches of discoloration. These can all be signs of cancer.
Fortunately, most patients have normal oral cancer screenings and nothing to worry about. Sometimes, however, we find lesions that warrant further investigation. What we do next will depend on the lesion. If it looks benign, we might ask you to come back in a few days or weeks to see if it goes away. Lesions that persist or look suspicious to begin with will need to be biopsied.
A biopsy is a minor procedure where we acquire some of the tissue in the lesion and send it for pathology. We can only diagnose cancer based on pathology reports. There’s no reason to panic until we receive the report from the pathology lab. Biopsied lesions could be benign, pre-cancerous, or cancerous. Depending on the pathology results, we’ll start to formulate a plan of management.