While routine dental checkups don’t often involve oral cancer screenings, you may want to do it during your next visit to the dentist. These screenings are designed to help catch oral cancer in its earliest stages, when curing it is still very possible.So the importance of oral cancer screenings can’t be overstated. Catching oral cancer early increases the chances of it being cured completely. And the best way to do that is to make sure that it’s detected early by your preferred dental practitioner.
During a typical oral cancer screening, the dentist will use various tools to check your mouth for anything unusual. They’ll then check your mouth for any abnormalities, such as lumps. If they find anything unusual, they’ll then collect a sample and send it to a lab for a more complete diagnosis.
While oral cancer can affect anyone, certain factors can increase your risk for it, such as:
- Being 40 and above
- Regular consumption of either alcohol or tobacco, or both
- HPV or Human Papillomavirus
- Gender-specific issues as men have been proven to be more susceptible to oral cancer than women
- Living an unhealthy lifestyle
- Prolonged and continuous exposure to the sun
As useful as these risk factors are, there are studies that show that there’s an alarming rate of people who have no risk factors whatsoever being diagnosed with oral cancer. Thus, it’s important that even if you don’t have any one of the factors listed above, you should still have your mouth checked for oral cancer as part of maintaining your overall health.
So what are the signs? While there’s rarely any indication of oral cancer if it is in its early stages, dentists can confirm or rule out a diagnosis by looking out for the following symptoms:
- Spots that don’t heal or always bleed
- Hard spots or lumps inside your mouth
- Red or white patches
- Mild pain or numbness whenever you take a bite
Today, there’s an increased effort to encourage both dentists and patients to have a thorough oral examination during every dental visit for signs of oral and/or throat cancer. Why? Because most oral cancers are diagnosed too late – a potentially fatal scenario that could’ve easily been prevented had it been caught early.
During every one of your dental visits, be sure to talk to your dentist about your health history and ask for oral cancer screening to be conducted each time. While a complete diagnosis won’t be given to you right there and then, any abnormalities found will be checked and as mentioned earlier, tissue samples will be sent to a lab to see if it is cancer.
If unfortunately, oral cancer is confirmed, frequent oral cancer screening will give you a fighting chance against it as it makes it more likely to be detected early on and to be treated before it progresses to a more fatal stage. So, the next time you visit your dentist, ask for an oral cancer screening – it could end up saving your life.
If you would like to schedule an oral cancer screening, please contact Kemmet Dental Design at 701-852-4789 today. For information regarding Kemmet Dental Design visit www.kemmetdental.com.
Kemmet Dental Design proudly serves Minot ND and all surrounding areas.