Did you know that oral cancer has one of the highest risks for death among common cancer types? According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, almost 50,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with oral cancer, and an average of 9,750 deaths occur every year from this disease. However, even with these dismal statistics, oral cancer is often successfully treated when it is caught in the early stages, which is why oral cancer screening by your dentist is so important.
The first signs of oral cancer usually appear in the mouth tissues, but often go unnoticed by the person with the cancer. The changes in the tissue may be very slight – it may be a small white or red spot that you cannot see, or a tiny patch of skin that is slightly rougher than the skin around it. During routine dental exams, our dentist does an oral cancer screening to look for any of the possible signs of early stages of oral cancer to protect your health and give you a fighting chance to beat this disease.
Oral Cancer Screening Procedure
In most cases, the oral cancer screening is done in tandem with your regular dental exam. Using our advanced dental technology, our dentist will closely examine all the tissues in the mouth. This includes all the gum tissue, the top and bottom of the tongue, the roof and floor of your mouth and the inside of your cheeks. During the oral cancer screening, the dentist will look for any skin discolorations, sores, texture differences, lumps or any other abnormalities on the tissues. If there is a sore or lump, the dentist may ask you if it hurts or how long it has been there. He may also inquire about any other symptoms, like a sore throat, pain or trouble swallowing.
If there are any concerns that a formation in your mouth could be oral cancer, you may be asked to come back in a few weeks for another oral cancer screening or referred to a physician for further examination. While any detection of possible cancer is scary, the earlier it is detected, the better chance you have for successful treatment. Oral cancer screening is one of the many reasons you should always have a checkup at our office at least once a year. We care about more than just your teeth and smile – we want to help protect your overall health.
At Spring Cypress Dental, we care about our patients and want to ensure they get the best preventive care possible for their smiles and wellness. Call our office today to schedule your next checkup and receive anoral cancer screening with your exam.