Did you know that if you’ve been to the dentist before, odds are you’ve an oral cancer screening? This fact may surprise you, but in most dental practices, it’s standard procedure to screen for oral cancer at your regular six-month checkup. Our doctors make sure to thoroughly examine the tissues in your mouth and throat for any abnormalities at your appointments.
Oral cancer refers to several different types of cancers that may appear on the tongue, cheeks, lips, gums, or in the throat. Although use of tobacco products is the most common contributor to oral cancer, there are a few other factors that can put you at an increased risk for the disease. These include:
More often than not, oral cancer appears in men over the age of 50. However, as HPV increases in frequency in recent times, more and more younger patients are becoming susceptible to the disease.
During a screening, one of our dentists will ask you about your oral and general health, as well as any changes you may have noticed to your mouth, throat, neck, or jaw. Once they have learned enough about your health, they will conduct a complete examination of your oral cavity and your throat. They will be looking for:
Out of all the people who are diagnosed with oral cancer every year, about one fifth of them will die. That’s an awfully large percentage for a disease that can largely be treated when caught early enough. That’s why it’s important to see one of our doctors every year. About 84 percent of oral cancer cases can be detected by dental professionals.
We believe that preventive care goes beyond simply checking for cavities and gum disease. Because the threat of oral cancer is very real, we wholeheartedly believe it’s worth the time to perform an oral cancer screening on every patient who walks through our doors. If we catch any early signs, we’ll direct you to the appropriate specialist who can begin a customized treatment plan with you. Don’t worry, we’ll still be a part of your cancer team, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.