Oral Cancer Exam
Regular checkups and professional cleanings are an excellent way to maintain your oral health. During your checkup, we will also perform an oral cancer exam. An oral cancer exam is a visual and physical exam that can reassure you there are no apparent problems or allow us to catch it early if there are. It is important to note that an oral cancer exam is precautionary, not diagnostic. At Bijan Family Dental Practice, we believe that your oral cancer exam is also an opportunity for you to voice your concerns and ask questions. We can help you reduce your risk and put your mind at ease.
Why You May Need an Oral Cancer Exam
Certain people are at a higher risk for developing oral cancer. If you participate in tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, have a history of significant sun exposure, or a previous oral cancer diagnosis, you are much more likely to benefit from an exam. The goal of the exam is to detect mouth cancer or precancerous lesions at an early stage when it is most treatable and easier to remove.
An oral cancer exam is broken into two parts: visual and physical. During your visual exam, Dr. Bijan Modjtahedi will take a look at your face, neck, lips, oral cavity, and nasal cavity. We will also ask you to take out any removable dental appliances so that we can get a better look. The goal of the visual exam is to look for unusual swellings, bumps, blotches of color, ulcerations, asymmetries, and any other abnormalities present.
The exam may feel similar to the one you would receive from your general physician. To get a better look at the nasal and oral cavities, we will use light and a magnifying mirror. We may also use a tongue depressor and ask you to say “ahh.”
The physical exam typically takes place during or immediately after the visual one. During your physical exam, Dr. Bijan Modjtahedi will apply pressure to the head and cheeks, under the chin, in the oral cavity, and around the jaw. If physical contact causes any pain, there may be a potential problem. Other indicators include nodules or masses, immobile tissue, and painless swelling.
After Your Exam
There are two possible outcomes of your oral cancer exam. If we do not discover any signs of mouth cancer or precancerous lesions, you can simply go back to your everyday life. We may recommend another exam in several years. If we do find something concerning, we may ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment.
During your follow-up appointment, we will check the abnormality to see if it has grown, or if it is still present. If it has changed over time, we may need to conduct further tests, for instance, a biopsy procedure. During a biopsy, we remove a small sample of the abnormal cells for laboratory testing.
Schedule Your Exam Today!
If are interested in learning more, call (714) 421-4494 to schedule your exam today!