A dental checkup is much more than cleaning your teeth


Dr. Kregg Delange

David Seaba, of Montezuma, has a tooth pulled by Altoona Smiles dentist Dr. Eric Forsberg, with assistance from treatment coordinator Kelli Nielsen, on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, during the annual Smiles from the Heart program, offering free dental care to the community. More than 60 appointments were made to receive free dental care during the event.

You may not think of your dentist as an investigator but when it comes to your oral health, I take on that role.

At every dental check-up with me, you’ll notice that I use a gloved finger to feel the sides, roof and bottom of your mouth. I will also lift your tongue to look under it, and I will palpate your neck. What’s going on? 

I’m looking for signs of oral cancers. These cancers are abnormal cells in any part of your mouth or lips. Oral cancers are relatively uncommon, but because they are not easy to detect, they may not be found until a later stage when they can become very serious. That’s why every dentist checks your mouth for lumps, bumps and red or white patches. The base, sides and back of your tongue are common sites for oral cancer, which is why it gets a thorough inspection, too. 


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