Oral Cancer Screening
No one ever wants to hear the word cancer. Ever. In fact, some people don’t even use the word cancer. Instead, they call it a euphemism. The Big C. The Long Fight. However, none of those words really do the disease justice. Research shows us that by the end of this year, 15 million people in the US will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. That’s why cancer screenings are so important. You may not know it, but you have been getting cancer screenings in our office at least twice a year. Do you want to know more about screening for oral cancer? Let Dynamic Dental Care take a minute to tell you more information about oral cancer screening.
What Is Oral Cancer Screening?
Every six months, when you come in for your regular dental examination, we check you for oral cancer. While the oral cancer screening may be shorter for some patients, it is longer if you have a history of tobacco usage, or if you drink heavily. To screen you for oral cancer, we first look at your gums, mouth, cheeks and palate for anything that looks unusual - especially spots and bumps. Spots and bumps may be the first sign of cancer, and we have to pay attention to them, because oral cancer can be painless in the early stages.
If you are at a higher risk for oral cancer, you may need a more thorough screening. Do you have a family history of cancer? Do you use tobacco heavily or do you drink heavily? Have you had oral cancer before? If so, we probably need to do a more thorough screening of your mouth. We can do that by shining a light in your mouth to make sure we don’t see anything unusual. We might also have you swish a blue solution in your mouth, because that makes suspicious growths easier to see. Early oral cancer screenings and exams are also a part of our dentistry for kids.
The Importance of Those Oral Cancer Screenings
We think oral cancer screenings are monumentally important. That’s because if we can catch oral cancer at its early stages, we can treat it at the stage when it is most treatable. Oral cancer in the early stages looks a lot like a mouth sore, or a bump. It might look like a really inflamed canker sore. Because it isn’t painful, it is much harder to diagnose - and more dangerous. The longer oral cancer goes without being diagnosed, the more dangerous it becomes. Oral cancer can lead to issues with TMJ and your gums. Proper periodontal care is needed to help prevent and reduce your chances of getting oral cancer.
If we can catch oral cancer early, we can get you into treatment early. If we don’t catch it early, oral cancer can spread quickly and become life threatening. Oral cancer may also lead to disfigurement, because surgery might mean removal of bone, teeth or gums. No one wants that, and we don’t want it for you. We don’t want you to be scared about it, but we want you to understand how important oral cancer screening is.
If you have a history of tobacco use, smoking or heavy drinking, you need to be screened, if only for your own peace of mind. Why not come in and see Dynamic Dental Care? Give us a call at (509) 466-2587.