Should an Oral Cancer Screening be Part of Your Dental Appointment?

Cancer is not a pleasant topic. It’s not pleasant to think about, write about, or talk about; however, not doing so won’t make it go away. The fact of the matter is that according to the American Dental Association, approximately 40,000 individuals will be diagnosed with throat or mouth cancer this year.

It’s a sobering statistic, one that every person should be aware of because, if there wasn’t already enough incentive to see a dentist on a regular basis, this certainly provides that extra incentive.

In this article, we’re going to cover common signs and symptoms of mouth cancer, as well as teach you how to make sure you’re getting checked for oral cancer at each and every dental appointment.

If you’re in or around the Cumming, GA area and are looking for a dental office that provides oral cancer screenings as part of every preventative dental exam, please contact us here to schedule your appointment.

What are the most common signs of oral cancer?

cough-squareIf you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms in your mouth, then you need to schedule an appointment for an oral cancer screening immediately. Having these symptoms certainly doesn’t mean you have oral cancer, but there’s no point in risking it.

The common signs or symptoms are:

  • A change in how your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
  • An irritation inside of your mouth or on your lips that doesn’t go away
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in or around your mouth
  • Red or white patchy spots (including lumps or rough spots)

Basically, if you see or feel anything out of the ordinary in or around your mouth, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist (or us, if you’re in the Cumming area).

How do people get oral cancer? How can I reduce my chances?

While anyone can get oral cancer, there is a high correlation between using tobacco products, drinking excessively, and mouth cancer. So if you smoke cigarettes, use smokeless tobacco, or consume more than a couple of alcoholic drinks a day, your risk for developing oral cancer increases significantly.

In addition to tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, spending too much time in the sun or contracting HPV can also increase your chances of developing oral cancer of the mouth or throat.

To reduce your chances of developing oral cancer, the #1 thing you can do is stop using tobacco products. Secondly, you need to keep a close eye on any changes that occur in your mouth, as early detection is the key to successfully treating mouth cancer.

What is an oral cancer screening? How does it work?

An oral cavity screening or mouth cancer exam is typically performed during a routine, preventative maintenance dental appointment. While many dental offices conduct oral cancer screenings as part of a routine exam, you should check with your dentist to ensure they are, in fact, doing this.

Essentially, your dentist will carefully examine your gums, lips, tongue, and soft tissue in your mouth for any type of abnormalities. It’s also important that you report any odd feelings or sensations you have experienced in the oral region, as these can help your dentist identify problem areas.

Where can I get my oral cancer screening in the Cumming, GA area?

Throat_Anatomy_EnglishAt our office, of course. Our practice is based on the idea of preventative maintenance dentistry, keeping mouths healthy before problems arise.

If you’re visiting us every 4-6 months for your routine oral exam, not only will your teeth look great, but we’ll be able to ensure that your mouth is just as healthy as it should be.

The most important piece of information to take away from this article is don’t wait. Early detection with any form of cancer is the key to successful treatment, and it increases the likelihood of survival.

If you’re reading this today and you have experienced any of the above symptoms, you owe it to yourself and your family to take action because ignoring the problem will not make it go away.

Even though it can be scary, our caring team of dental professionals are here to care for you, comfort you, and encourage you during your appointment.

So what are you waiting for? Give our office a call today to schedule your appointment. It could save your life.