Most patients might not know that dentists are looking for signs of oral cancer during a routine dental exam.
Dentists like Dr. Cochran do this because discovering mouth cancer at an early stage increases the likelihood of successfully removing cancer. This especially benefits patients who are particularly at a higher risk of developing oral cancer for the following reasons:
- Prior diagnosis of oral cancer
- Regular tobacco use
- Frequent alcohol use
Essentially, during an oral cancer screening, Dr. Cochran is searching for mouth sores or red or white patches in the mouth. Also, shining a light inside of your mouth will make the healthy tissue look darker and the abnormal tissue looks lighter.