Oral exams are routinely performed by Brooklyn dentists during bi-annual dental check-ups and are part of the initial comprehensive exam that all patients receive when they come to the office.
Oral cancer exams are similar exams meant to identify and manage any diseases that may be present in the oral and maxillofacial regions. Oral cancer exams are performed when pathological problems are discovered or suspected to exist.
There are many types of pathological problems that can arise, and their presence is a sign of serious oral health problems, the most serious of these being oral cancer.
What to expect during an oral examination?
Routine oral examinations are straightforward inspections of the teeth, gums, and soft tissue of the mouth. Soft tissue is normally pink in color, smooth in texture, and lined with mucosa. Any discoloration or alteration of texture in the face, neck, or mouth areas may be a sign of pathological disease.
Some pathological diseases or variations of normal anatomy are as follows:
Median Palatal Cysts – A fluid-filled skin sac of developmental origin that usually appears in the middle of the palate. This often causes discomfort.
Geographic Tongue – Appears as missing papillae, or small bumps, on the tongue, creating a map-like appearance on the tongue’s surface. Also known as Erythema Migrans and Benign Migratory Glossitis, this condition can result in an array of red patches on the tongue that may come and go with increased sensitivity to certain substances.
Hairy Tongue – Formed by excessive bacteria or a yeast infection in the mouth resulting in the tongue having a black or hairy appearance. This condition can be caused by a number of things including HIV, intravenous drug use, extensive or chronic use of antibiotics, radiation treatments to the neck or head, or poor oral hygiene.
If any pathological conditions, cell changes, or discoloration are detected by the dentist or oral pathologist in Brooklyn, NY, a biopsy of the affected area will be taken. The sample will be sent to a specialized laboratory to be analyzed. After the results are sent back to the dentist, they will then create a treatment plan for your specific condition.
Pathological Disease Treatment in Brooklyn, NY
Pathological diseases can result in discomfort and disfiguration in some cases, but when diagnosed and treated immediately, the negative effects of pathologic disease are drastically reduced. This is true for oral cancer as well, which is on the rise, especially among men. If caught and treated immediately, oral cancer is very curable, with survival rates of around 80%.
For less severe cases of pathological disease, the following treatment options are common:
Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide
If the dentist concludes that poor oral hygiene is the underlying cause of the condition, they will prescribe a mouthwash of diluted hydrogen peroxide. This kills more bacteria than average mouthwashes and improves bad breath, or halitosis.
If the cause of the condition is bacterial infection or persistent soreness, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics. These can alleviate discomfort and soreness and return the mucosa to its natural state.
Oral SurgeryCysts or abnormal non-cancerous growths can be removed through oral surgery. This may result in better breathing and speech functionality and improved levels of comfort depending on where the cysts or growths are located.
Oral Cancer Screenings
Oral cancer is a blanket term for any cancer that affects the tongue, jaw, or lower cheek areas. If signs of oral cancer are discovered during a routine oral examination, the dentist or hygienist will perform an oral cancer screening.
Oral cancer screenings are painless and quick examinations that are completed with the use of laser lights. These assess cell changes in the soft tissue that might be indicators of oral cancer.
A sample of the affected area will be sent to a lab after a small biopsy. If the results indicate that oral cancer is present, the patient will be scheduled for an immediate excision (removal) procedure.
Reach out to our office with any questions or concerns you may have about oral cancer or oral examinations. If you are concerned about any symptoms or pain that you may be experiencing, contact Brooklyn Dentist today to schedule an appointment.