What is the Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings During Dental Exams?
Your dentist recommends that you see them after every six months, even if you are not sick. During these dental visits, they routinely check your mouth, gums, and teeth for gum and cavities.
Oral cancer is any cancer that affects your oral cavity, like cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, the floor of your mouth, throat, and the soft and hard palate (the front and back of the roof of your mouth. Studies discovered that men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, making oral cancer the sixth most common cancer among men.
Oral cancer can become life-threatening if it is not discovered and treated early. That is why most dentists use routine visits to check for any signs of oral cancer. Read along to understand the oral screening and its importance.
What is An Oral Cancer Screening?
An oral cancer screening is a crucial part of your dental check-up that dentist near you does. The screening is comprehensive and typically starts before your physical exam even begins.
The process will start with your dental hygienist updating your medical history with any changes that may have occurred since your last visit. They will also not know if you have been diagnosed with any new conditions or diseases or if you are taking new medications. The dentist will also ask you if you have any risk factors that may cause oral cancer, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption since people who drink alcohol and smoke are at a higher risk of mouth cancer.
Your dentist will also ask about your current overall health, including if you have any dental concerns. During the screening, the dentist examines the areas inside and outside your mouth, such s the head, neck, tongue, lips, palate, gum tissues, cheeks, and the floor of the mouth.
Your dentist at Milestone Family Dentistry will look for any sores. Lumps or irregular tissue changes like discoloration. If they find anything unusual or suspicious, like a lesion, your dentist may recommend that you have a biopsy or refer you to an oral surgeon.
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer appears as a sore or a growth that does not disappear. For instance, the presence of sores in your face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and fail to heal after two to three weeks.
Other common signs and symptoms o oral cancer that you should look out for or that your will try looking for include:
- Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
- Bumps or lumps, rough spots, crusts, eroded areas on your gums, lips, or other areas inside your mouth.
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw
- A chronic sore throat, voice changes, or hoarseness.
- Red, velvety white, or speckled white and red patches inside your mouth
- Unexplained pain, numbness, or tenderness in any area of your mouth, face, or neck.
- Change in your bite
- Ear pain
- Dramatic weight loss
Importance Of Oral Cancer Screening
It is important to visit dentistry that offers oral cancer screening near you to detect any early signs of cancer so that it can be treated before it becomes too late to treat it, thus making it more expensive.
Dentists have new ways o screening oral cancer. There is ample available lighting, accessible medical histories, and a bird’s eye view o the patient’s mouth. The function of an oral cancer screening is to detect pre-cancerous lesions or mouth cancer that may lead to oral cancer at an early stage, thus is when lesions or cancer are easy to remove and can be cured.
However, no studies have proven that oral cancer screenings can save lives. That is why not all organizations agree with the benefits of an oral exam for oral cancer screening. Some organizations recommend screening, while others say there is not enough evidence to give a recommendation.
People with the risk of oral cancer are more likely to benefit from oral cancer screening, though not enough studies have proven it.
If you are concerned about the risk of oral cancer, talk to your dentist in Daphne, AL, about ways to reduce your risk and the screening tests that may be right for you.